Information can be better perceived, processed, and maintained when it is selected from a broader field. This selection process, which we can also denote as focus, can unfold in various ways. In visual perception, the focus of the subject’s gaze brings objects onto the fovea, which results in highest visual acuity (focus of gaze). Aside from that, objects can also be focused on in another manner – via attention. Voluntarily and independent from the gaze’s focus, attention can be shifted to areas of the visual field, leading here to improved processing (focus of attention).
Standing across these two forms of outwardly directed focus is their inward counterpart. Within working memory, this selects representations, mnemonic content, so that such content can be protected from interference and better preserved (focus in working memory).
Whether and how these three forms of focus interact will be examined in a projct funded by the DFG (LA 1392/5-1): “Focused Information: Interaction between focus of gaze, focus of attention, and focus in working memory”. Cooperation partner is Dr. Laura Rerko, Zürich.