Lecture 8 – PSYB51
Models of Attention
Similar in dimensions
Castle: when you look closely at that picture, it’s not the same, but from far away they look the
Natural scenes look systematically different than human-made scenes (clean shapes, walls,
Openness-> how much is your view restricted of the left and right side (ex. a street vs. looking at
the ocean from the beach)
Depth of a scene (2D or 3D?)
Selective attention is...a cognitive brain mechanism that enables one to process relevant inputs,
thoughts, or actions while ignoring others that are less important, irrelevant or distracting.
Attention is not...arousal: a global state of the brain reflecting an overall level of responsiveness.
(Also known as affect intensity in the context of emotions.)
Today: attentional control and models of attention
• Models of attention
• Networks of attentional control
• Disorders of attention
Early vs. late selection (the amount of synapses it takes to drive a neuron ex. neuron and LGN cells)
Early selection or early with adaptable filter system.
o Even semantic processes can remain unattended/ unconscious
Multi-level filtering : everything is possible in the end
Perceptual load : depending how difficult a task it, that will modulate how much processing
Contraction of muscle means you show some kind of behavior
“Spotlight”(or search light) model: attention is confined to a coherent region of space and can
move from one point to the next.
“Zoomlens” model: attention expands from fixation... grows to fill whole region...shrinks to
include just cued location
Problems with spotlight and zoom lens models: 1. Attention shifts rather instantly.
2. Attention can split into more than one focus; not necessarily coherent region in space. -> it can’t
explain object tracking
– e.g., fMRI experiment
-- e.g., multiple object tracking
Left hemisphere of cortex -> attention 2-> V1 and V2: here you would have the activity for the
bottom right corner
The RSVP in the top left corner is activated in Attention 2 bottom cortex
Lower left RSVP is associated with top right cortex (Attention 1)
Upper right RSVP is associated with bottom left cortex