Montana State University

University of Utah professor to lecture about control March 31 at MSU

February 27, 2014

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

A free public lecture about attentional control, or an individual's capacity to choose what they pay attention to and what they ignore, will be given at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 31, in the Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building at Montana State University.

Jason Watson, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and the Brain Institute at the University of Utah, will present "To Control or Not to Control? Using Individual Differences in Working Memory Capacity to Explore Automation and the Resolution of the Control Dilemma."

To investigate attentional control, cognitive psychologists often rely on oppositional logic by pitting controlled and automatic processes against one another, measuring speed and accuracy of responding to incongruent stimuli -- for example, the word RED printed in green ink.

Watson will discuss the control dilemma, which recognizes that the exertion of control and the regulation of on/off-task behavior must be balanced by an overarching tendency to automate processing and to conserve limited-capacity cognitive resources.

Watson’s research program focuses on the behavioral and brain correlates of individual differences in attentional control. He has published or presented over 100 research articles and scholarly talks or posters related to attentional control.

Watson’s lecture is sponsored by the MSU Department of Psychology, and is presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

For more information about this and other College of Letters and Science Distinguished Speakers Series lectures, please or call 994-4288.

For more information about the event, go to:



Jody Sanford (406) 994-7791,