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Lecture

Chapter 7 Notes .doc


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 100
Professor
Daniel Levitin

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How Does Attention Determine What Is Remembered - 281
attention is limited, and when it is divided among too many tasks or the tasks are too
difficult, performance suffers
Visual Attention in Selective and Serial - 282
Anne Treisman - studies on attention
theory on attention and recognition: we automatically identify “primitive fea-
tures” (colour, shape, orientation, movement etc) within an environment
proposed that separate systems analyze objects different visual features
through parallel processing these systems all process information at the same
time, and we can attend selectively to one feature by effectively blocking the
further processing of the others
visual search task - participants look at a display of different objects and search
for targets that differ from the other in only 1 frame
looking for red dot in a group of black dots
although searching for a single feature (red stimulus) is fast and automatic, search-
ing for 2 features is serial (you need to look at the stimuli at one time) and effortful
(takes longer and requires more attention
conjunction task: stimulus you are looking for is made up of 2 simple features
trying to find red X’s in a display of different coloured X’s and Y’s
Auditory Attention Allows Selective Hearing - 282
because attention is limited, it is hard to perform two tasks at the same time, espe-
cially if they rely on the same mechanism
E.C. Cherry described the cocktail party phenomenon
you can focus on a single conversation in the midst of a chaotic cocktail par-
ty, yet a particularly pertinent stimulus, such as hearing your name men-
tioned in another conversation, can capture your attention
while proximity and loudness influence what you will attend to, your selective
attention can also determine which conversation you hear
some important information gets through the filter of attention, but it needs to be
personally relevant information (your name) or it has to be particularly loud or dif-
ferent in some obvious physical way
Selective Attention Can Operate At Multiple Stages of Processing - 283

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Donald Broadbent developed the filter theory to explain the selection nature of at-
tention
assumed that people have a limited capacity for sensory information and
thus screening incoming information, letting in only the most important
certain sounds (especially high-pitched sounds) are harder to ignore than others
adult’s screams which generally signal distress, such as pain or fear, tend to
be much higher pitched than normal speaking voices
some evidence says that decisions about what to attend to are made early in the
perceptual process
studies also reveal that unattended information is processed at least to some ex-
tent (people are often influenced by information delivered subliminally or incidental-
ly)
change blindness: the fact that we are often “blind” to large changes in our envi-
ronment because we cannot attend to everything in the vast array of visual infor-
mation available to us
50% of people giving directions never noticed they were talking to a different
person as long as the replacement was of the same sex and race as the
first stranger
change blindness shows that we can attend to a limit amount of information and
that large discrepancies exist between what most people believe they see and
what they actually see
change blindness shows how attention influences memory
sometimes it is not because we forget them (ie. colour of strangers shirt) but
more likely because we never encoded these features
What Are The Basic Stages of Memory - 286
memory allows us to take information from our experiences and store it for retrieval
later
however all experiences are not equally likely to be remembered
psychologists view memory as information processing model that consists of 3 dis-
tinct phases:
encoding: the processing of information so that it can be stored
storage: the retention of encoded representations over time that corresponds
to some change in the nervous system that registers the event
can last from a fraction of a second up to a lifetime
retrieval: the act of recalling or remembering stored information to use it

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psychological scientists describe memory in the modal memory model
modal memory model: the 3 stage memory system that involves sensory memo-
ry, short term memory, and long-term memory (Atkinson-Shiffrin)
Sensory Memory is Brief - 287
sensory memory: a memory for sensory information that is stored briefly close to
its original sensory form
lasts only a fraction of a second
under most circumstances, we are not aware that it is operating
allows us to experience the world in a continuous stream rather than in discrete
sensations (like a movie rather than still frames)
in everyday vision, keeps information long enough for you to connect one image
with the next in a smooth way that corresponds to the way objects move in the real
world
Working Memory is Active - 288
information attended to is passed from sensory memory to short term memory
short term memory (STM): a limited-capacity memory system that holds infor-
mation in awareness for a brief period
most psychologists call this short-term system working memory
working memory (WM): an active processing system that keeps different
types of information available for current use (also called immediate memory)
consists of our fleeting thoughts, ever-shifting feelings, and temporary
impressions of things in the world
the material in short term memory is constantly replaced by new information if
not saved
information remains in working memory for 20-30 seconds then disappears un-
less you actively prevent that from happening by thinking about or rehearsing
the information
Memory Span and Chunking
WM can hold a limited amount of information
George Miller has noted that the limit is generally 5-9 item - memory span
memory span also varies among individuals
it may be difficult to remember UTPHDNYUMAUCLABAMIT
but if we organize the info into smaller, meaningful units it is easier
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