Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Stephen CorreiaEmail author
  • Christina Figueroa
  • Ronald A. Cohen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1338


Vigilance (from Latin, vigil;awake) is conceptualized as a special case of the broader psychological construct of sustained attention. Sustained attention refers to the ability to consciously or semiconsciously focus on tasks over extended periods of time, whereas vigilance may be defined more narrowly as a person’s preparedness to detect infrequent and unpredictably occurring events or signals over prolonged periods of time. The ability to detect targets can be influenced by many factors such as the salience, frequency, duration, and stimulus characteristics of the target, the stimulus field in which the target is embedded and the similarity and frequency of nontargets to targets, the period of time over which vigilance must be maintained, speed of performance, and other factors. Typically, vigilance requires effortful maintenance of attention, or concentration, to detect infrequent and weak signals. Vigilance is required in many real-world applications such as radar and...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Correia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christina Figueroa
    • 2
  • Ronald A. Cohen
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorAlpert Medical School, Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Memory and Aging ProgramButler HospitalProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, College of Public Health and Health ProfessionsUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, McKnight Brain InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA