ABILITY AND DIMENSION
The FOCUS training program trains focused attention - the ability to respond only to relevant stimuli when there is a high density of distracting stimuli.
Focused attention describes the ability to isolate a segment of reality in order to be able to analyze it more closely. It is particularly important to be able to maintain this focus in the face of distractions and to suppress the interference caused by the simultaneous and automatic processing of information.
SETTING AND TASK
A boat travels through a lush African landscape. The subject is confronted with a wide range of different stimuli: screeching birds, flying dragonflies, a ruin on the banks of a river, a waterfall, etc. His task is to respond to pre-defined relevant stimuli without letting himself be distracted by the large number of other stimuli.
The FOCUS training program consists of three training forms. The S1 training form requires the subject to recognize visual stimuli against a background of distracting stimuli which may be acoustic, visual, or a combination of the two. In the S2 training form the task is to detect acoustic stimuli in the face of other stimuli which may likewise be acoustic, visual, or a combination of both. In the S3 training form the subject's task is to respond to relevant stimuli which may be either visual or acoustic without being distracted by the high-density background stimuli.
The difficulty structure of the FOCUS training program is designed to adapt as far as possible to the subject's perceptual capacity. Thus a weak subject will be presented with a low-stimulus environment, while a stronger subject will be confronted with a large number of distractor stimuli. The number of distractor stimuli presented is carefully graded and the time allowed for recognition of a stimulus is adapted to the subject's ability.
The FOCUS training program can also be used with patients with impairments of the visual field. The instructions are then displayed on only one side of the screen. Relevant stimuli, too, are only presented on one half of the screen.