Why Does It Matter?

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Staying Focused

This measure involves administering the Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test (Dinges & Powell, 1985), and it is used for testing the participant's attention.

This test is used by NASA on the International Space Station to provide astronauts in spaceflight with objective feedback on neurobehavioral changes in vigilant attention, psychomotor speed, state stability, and impulsivity while on ISS missions (NASA, 2018).

Participants' scores indicate their ability to focus on tasks. Low scores on this test are often associated with sleep deprivation.

About the Instrument

Instructions for Students

Welcome! This short game will test your visual attention, which is sensitive to sleep patterns and sleepiness. Your participation in this game will help researchers understand the effects of work schedule and sleep on attention.

The setup: You will see a blank screen. Every few seconds a red circle will appear on the screen.

Your goal: PRESS THE SPACEBAR as quickly as you can whenever you see this red circle. Try not to press the spacebar except for when the red circle appears.

Game length: 3 minutes.

We will start with a Practice Round before the game begins. Click 'Start' to continue.


Dinges, D. I, & Powell, J. W. (1985). Microcomputer analysis of performance on a portable, simple visual RT task sustained operations. Behavior Research Methods, Instrumentation, and Computers, 17, 652–655

NASA (2018). Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) on ISS. Retrieved from: