Individual differences in vigilance: Personality, ability and states of stress

Tyler H. Shaw, Gerald Matthews, Joel S. Warm, Victor S. Finomore, Leanne Silverman, Paul T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Vigilance is notoriously hard to predict from personality measures. This study adopted a new multivariate approach based on attentional resource theory. Measures were taken of the Five Factor Model (FFM), more narrowly-defined 'cognitive-energetic' traits, cognitive ability and stress and coping scales. Participants (210) performed one of two related high-workload visual vigilance tasks. Results showed that personality traits were weak predictors of correct detection rate, although extraversion was negatively correlated with performance. Ability, subjective task engagement and coping scales were more strongly associated with vigilance. However, both the FFM and cognitive-energetic factors related to subjective states experienced during performance. Data support multivariate approaches to the prediction of vigilance based on attentional resource theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-308
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Ability
  • Attentional resources
  • Extraversion
  • Five Factor Model
  • Mood
  • Stress
  • Sustained attention
  • Vigilance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • General Psychology


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