In the research, a hypothesis that intelligent subjects are characterized by a more efficient attentional mechanism was proved. A new experimental task was exploited, which measures the ability to control two concurrent mental activities, but imposes minimal motor demands. Significant number of errors during the dual-task condition, and fast automatization were observed, which confirm theoretical aptness of the task as a measure of attention efficiency. An attempt was also made at avoiding limits of correlational methods based on tasks designed within attentional resources paradigm. Causal relationships were examined with a model of attentional mechanism based on ACT-R computational theory of mind. The model implements both parallel processes of selective attention and serial control on reaction selection, and explains 87% of the error variance observed in the experiment. Additional manipulation of a model's parameter, which reflects available attentional resource, enabled to explain 74% of error variance for 4 groups of subjects with different intelligence levels. The results of simulation suggest two-level causal relationship between intelligence and attention: intelligence as a trait influences attentional and memory processes, which then influence the efficiency of reasoning processes determining the level of psychometric intelligence.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.