Attentional Focus

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The third of three variables in the Large & Jones model of attention to rhythms. Attentional focus describes the relative amount of energy devoted to attending to onsets of sound at any given point in time. The attentional focus function is similar to a normal distribution that repeats periodically, with the center of each distribution at the expected time of a sound onset (phase = 0). Increase attentional energy at any given point allows detection of smaller disparities in timing.

Attentional focus, like phase and period, can adapt over time. If an onset of sound occurs close to the expected time, then the attentional focus function becomes narrower, devoting more attention near the time of expected onset and less attention at other times. Conversely, if an onset of sound occurs far from the expected time of onset, the function widens to devote more attention to times distant from the expected time of onset.