PSYC 256 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Daniel Kahneman, Unit, Cocktail Party

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13 Jun 2018
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UNIT 2 (Includes 9-15)
ATTENTION
What is Attention?
Taking possession of the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one of what seem several
simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought (William James, 1890)
Limited capacity to actively process limited amounts of information from amongst
enormous amount of available information
Attention as Capacity
Capacity theory (Kahneman, 1973)
o Attention is limited and budgeted
o Allocated according to demands of situation
o Allocation depends on factors such as arousal, intentions, disposition, etc.
o
Selective Attention
Change Blindness
Attentional phenomena (not perceptional)
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Selective Attention
Ability to selectively ignore some information in order to concentrate on other
information
But, at what point do you stop processing ignored stimuli?
How do we determine this?
Dichotic listening task (headphones, play separate messages into each ear)
Cherry 1953: can shadow one message, but can’t recall content of unattended
message
Early-selection Theory
Broadbent, 1958
o Attend based on physical properties
o Gateway blocked at early stage of processing
o
Challenges to Early-selection Theory
Moray (1959): Cocktail party effect
o Ability to selectively attend to one particular conversation over a cacophony
of others
o However, certain things can get through this filter, such as your name and
other important information/words
Late-selection Theory
Deutsch & Deutsch 1963
All stimuli are processed for some aspects of meaning
Most important information is further elaborated and better remembered
o Everything must be first processed to be determined its not important and
ignorable
Importance can depend on:
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o Context, personal relevance, alertness
Gateway is open to processing meaning, but stopped before further processing
Challenges to late-selection theory
How does the filter decide what is important?
o Is fire always important
o Treisman (1960) dichotic listening test
o ***
o Perceptual vs conceptual (One is stronger?) *
Problems with both filter theories
People do not follow message based on physical attribute (location of message)
Instead, people follow the message based on the meaning
Second message must be getting through at level higher than physical
characteristics
Attenuation Theory
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