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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


AZZOLLINI, Susana Celeste; GONZALEZ, Federico Faustino  y  GOMEZ, María Emilia. La relación entre la capacidad de atención dividida y la estimación prospectiva del tiempo. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2004, vol.21, n.2, pp. 195-212. ISSN 1668-7027.

   In this paper we present the results of an experimental research, whose objective was to determine if split attention was explanatory for the variability of prospective time estimation.    Theoretical models about prospective time estimation postulate that attentional resources of processing are divided between a temporary processor (timer), that counts and stores Subjective Temporal Units (STUs), and other activities of non temporary processing (Zakay, 1993).    A sample of 36 university students was selected and were assigned randomly to each one of six experimental conditions determined by a 3 x 2 factorial design, whose basic factors were: amount of tasks (1, 2, 3) and complexity levels of material (low and high). We designed materials for the different tasks, as well as for the evaluation of memory (STM and LTM) and split attention aptitudes. The materials used for the simple tasks were: drawings that the individuals had to copy with nine cubes (similar to those in Weschler's Test) with previously demarcated limits; plastic circular cards that the individuals had to select according color; and a remote control toy car, whose route had to be observed by the individuals. The materials used for the complex tasks were: drawings to be copied with nine cubes, but without limits; a short story by Jorge Luis Borges that the individuals had to read; and a crossword puzzle that they had to complete.    The instruments for the evaluation of memory aptitudes were two lists of 20 familiar words (one for short term memory and the other one for long term memory); and for the evaluation of split attention capacity the Subtest of Keys in Weschler's Test was used as follows: the individuals had to complete the subtest during one minute and during the following minute they continued filling it in while someone read a list of words (interference), and at the same time they had to make a mark whenever they heard a word from the feelings category.    As regards to the procedure, for short term memory the individuals were asked to immediately recall a word of the list that was read. For split attention, the individuals were asked to complete the keys (without and with interference), and to measure long term memory, they were asked to recall the second list at the end of the experiment.    The memory aptitudes were represented by the number of correct words recalled and the split attention was measured by the percentage of attention maintenance between the task without interference and the task with it. The experiment itself consisted in the accomplishment of one, two or three tasks, which could be simple or complex, according to experimental group assigned. In the instructions regarding the task, the individuals were told to stop the timer (it had begun to register time at the beginning of the task) once they thought that a period of 2 minutes 53 seconds was up. The measures of time were the differences between real time and estimated time.    Data were analyzed by correlation analysis, discriminant analysis and bifactorial analysis of variance (ANOVA).    The findings were that the capacity of split attention is correlated to prospective time estimation. Also, the capacity of split attention is a good way to predict the estimation time capacity of individuals, especially for over-estimators.    The differences in memory aptitudes do not explain prospective estimations variability.    We did not find statistically significant differences between different amount of tasks and between high or low complexity of tasks. These results are discussed.

Palabras clave : Time estimation; Prospective paradigm; Split attention; Memory.

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