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chapter 11 psyb65

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ted Petit

Psyb65 – chapter 11 Attention and Consciousness  Attention and consciousness is studied together because attention can mediate conscious experience. o Your consciousness of the world is grated by attention The different ways attention can be defined:  Studying attention: o William James: attention doesn’t need definition – but he identifies 2 basic features of attention 1. Selection of sensory info from several simultaneously available inputs a. They can be sensory but does not have to be b. It can be directed to internal mental processes i. This is called “selective attention” 1. To let some information to be processed while ignoring others  The shifting of attention can occur without adjusting sensory structures, ex: I can see the letter on my left corner without moving my eyes 2. Selection of mental state a. Allowing either internal or external flow of info 1. Voluntary attention: one intentionally shifts attention 2. Reflexive attentions: shift occurs in response to external event  Hermann von Helmholtz studied perception using walls in his laboratory (like those in the optometrist) he was able to identify the letter at the top right without moving his gaze  Cocktail party effect: the ability to focus one’s listening attention on a single speaker among a bunch of conversations and background noises o Cherry: spatial hearing was what divided auditory inputs o But this is not the case – the auditory selective attention is mediated by the contralateral anterior temporal lobe Early vs. late selection Early selection  Attentional selection is quite early (early in the experiment, not in life) o Ex: in Helmholtz experiment, he was able to remember those letters if he paid attention to a specific spot before the light o Its known as early selection – encoding and perceptual analysis of an input does not need to be complete before it is selected or rejected from further processing  The inner ear seems to be more vulnerable to higher perceptual and attentional processes  ERP – event-related potential o Since changes in the ERP take place at the level of the extrastriate visual cortex instead of primary, therefore the visual system is operated later than the auditory system. Late Selection  Attention operates after the sensory info has been perceives identified and organized  Semantic level: colors that does not match the word, people are slower at naming the color  There is semantic attention but they fail to attend to these stimuli How does attention shift? Voluntary shifts in attention:  Voluntary shifts in attention are the changes that you intentionally make ex: changing the focus of your attention from one thing to another o Invalid trial: when the cue is misleading o Valid trial: when the cue actually leads the target to the correct location o Neutral trial: the cue does not yield any information about the location of the target  When they are more valid trials than invalid ones, participants learn to anticipate the location of the target. o This leads to a reduction in their reaction time, which is a benefit  invalid cues increase average reaction time result in cost of reaction time Reflexive shifts in attention:  many shifts of attention are not conscious decisions  reflexive changes in attention are usually adaptive o revolutionary: it helped us survive  but it’s not always useful or adaptive  Exogenous cueing: when the participant is told to do the task in the same way and to ignore cues that are presented randomly. This produces cost and benefits, they are both possible for valid cues, depending on the timing o If the flash appears before such as 300+ millisecond = results in cost  Cost is called an inhibitory aftereffect or inhibition of return  Benefit can be observed in attention are short rather than when attentional changes must be maintained for longer periods of time  Reflexive orienting responses are normally very short, about 200 or fewer milliseconds o Much longer duration could be life-threatening  Second possibility is when the cues tend not to provide valid information; we become reluctant to response to changes on that side. Neural Systems Subserving Attention  Where in the brain is attention? o Some believed it was at the back  Every cortical cell can have its activity influences by attention  Attention is not strictly controlled by cortical structures  Baddeley’s model on memory: working memory can be thought of as having three components, with the primary component responsible for controlling attention and supervising the 2 “slave” subsystems. o 2 sub systems: phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad  The central executive is defined by what it does when performing tasks: its involved with the allocation of attention, strategy selection, and the integration of info received from the two slave systems  Tasks that are demanding of central executive activates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex  Posner and Peterson proposed a model of attention which involved three visual attentional mechanisms that are functionally and anatomically distinct attention systems that are involved in visual attention o PAS : posterior attentional system – distinct from the 2 other systems  Involved in orienting spatial attention, such as object search and inspection of object once it is found – it’s like a zoom lens (how? And where?) it’s part of the dorsal visual pathway o AAS: anterior attentional system  Responsible for working memory and executive control that subserves the conscious control of attention  Its involved in memory, semantics and motor behavior control o VS: vigilance system  To prepare and sustain alertness toward signals that demand high priority  It is functionally lateralized  Right frontal damage compromises the ability to develop and maintain an alert state, but this is not seen in the left hemisphere  Its selectively dependent on norepinrephrine o The posner and Peterson system is best used to describe people with focal brain injuries Studying consciousness  No definition for consciousness  Lucid dreaming: when you are aware that you’re dreaming Defining consciousness  The criteria that consciousness must demonstrate: o Selective attention, explicit memory, language and self awareness  Bisiach: there are 3 different senses of consciousness o Nonphysical entities: the soul o Experience of sensation, thought or action o Monitoring of the internal representations  Damasio: there are 2 kinds of consciousness o Core consciousness: transient process that is generated as an organism interacts with an object o Extended consciousness: more complication, its generated out of the gradual buildup of autobiographical self, it requires long term memory  The p
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