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Lecture 19

01:830:301 Lecture 19: Attention

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Lecture 19:Attention (U3:1) -the video of the gorilla approx 50% of the subject never noticed the gorilla. -you are trying to pay attention to white and the other team you’re trying to ignore is black shirts  the gorilla is black.  SELECTIVEATTENTION Selective Attention: when you’re focused one type of stimulus, it’s harder to focus on other stimulus. -same thing happens when you’re talking on the phone and driving  doesn’t matter if you’re using hand-held device or microphone  your attention is on the conversation -subjects are HALF as likely to recognize relevant signs and objects in the “dual-task” condition -dual task condition: talking on phone and driving at the same time. -listening to audiobook doesn’t disturb but if you are engaged in something, it affects -Inattentional blindness: when you are inattentive, you are blind to the gorilla as well as objects on the streets. -attention is split with driving and phone (it has nothing to do with what you’re hands -are doing) -people have half of attention  ability to perceive relative objects, signs and how quickly you notice. (if you’re listening doesn’t affect but when you’re engaged in the conversation) Attention (famous quote by William James) “Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, and consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others..” -your ability to attend other things are compromised DividedAttention: divided attention between 2 things (ex: dual task) OvertAttention: directing the eyes and attention to a stimulus (obvious, explicit) -if I want to attend to you, I’m going to direct my eyes to you. Covert Attention: directing attention to a stimulus, while the eyes are visually fixated somewhere else -if I want to attend to something, but not actually look at that direction (peripheral) -you’re in a subway and there’s a crazy guy, you don’t want to look directly but still look at that area/direction -you can train your attention to move independently from the fixation. SelectiveAttention:when youareselectingonestimulustoattendtooutofmany(mayinvolve looking directly at it or covertly  where you’re attending to) Some metaphors: 1. Spotlight attention: putting a “spotlight” on things we are attentive to (dark room, direct spotlight in the room  directly that spotlight) -it misses some part: it can’t get narrow or detailed 2. zoom-lens: zooming in on things (you can zoom narrowly, spotlight might not capture that but a zoom light can) -it is possible to have your attention split in two areas that are not connecting Why have visual attention at all?  we can consider the evolution of visual organism (species evolving vision) and why not just have their brains process the entire image on the retina of the entire scene all at once?  Why have this extra mechanism of having allocation of specific attention? 1. Limited capacity in information processing (focusing on a specific) Strategy 1: all information all at once all the time (always) Strategy 2: spotlight of attention is so narrow and short so that you are completely blind (no consciousness) to anything that doesn’t fall within your focus of attention How has evolution discovered a balanced strategy that falls somewhere in between these two extremes? 2.Attentional “Bottleneck” -always processing the entire scene, all at once OR narrow spotlight and sharp, so anything that doesn’t fall in the spotlight is “dark” -how has evolution evolved so that we can find a balance? -initial stage: left of bottleneck, the entire image is processed by the ganglion cells (edges) -moresophisticatedprocessingthroughtheattentionalbottleneck(whateveryou’re paying attention to  only that part of information will then get further more sophisticated processing)  “SELECTIVE” 3.Asubset “selected” for further processing. VISUALSEARCH -how can we experimentally distinguish between those two types of situations (something that gets processed before the bottleneck –all at once OR something that only gets processed after the bottleneck – only if you’re attending to it)?  visual search Visual Search: well-known technique that distinguishes these two Two category: 1. some information is processed AUTOMATICALLY or “Pre-attentively” (before you chose to attend to it; left of bottleneck) 2. other information requires attention (meaning that other information will only get processed if you are attending to it and will not get processed otherwise) Q: How can we tell whether some information processing will fall on 1 or 2 categories? -Subjects look for a target (what they are supposed to be looking for) among distractors (not what they’re supposed to be looking for) -Measure Response Time (RT): how long does it take people to respond to tell you yes/no  how long it takes for them to make that judgement; how long does it take as you systematically increase the number of distractors. Key question we are asking: How does the RT vary with number of distractors? (Depending on that pattern of increase or not, we can make some discriminations) Based on the pattern of research, we can divide visual search into 2 type of categories: 1. Parallel Search: the entire image (all parts) are being processed as parallel -example: the tilted bar example -example: Is there a red bar -it’s not going to take longer  for some properties, RT are almost flat (doesn’t go up)  those properties are called “Basic Features” (color, the orientation of a line are both basicfeaturebecausethebrainapparentlyconsidersthesetobeimportant,fundamental properties that they are processed as parallel EVEN before attention) x-axi: # of distractors y: reaction time Twotypes oftrial: trials wheretarget was present or absent.  t
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