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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Attention and Memory Textbook Notes Psych 1X03 .docx

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McMaster University
Joe Kim

Textbook NotesPsych 1X03 Chapter 4 Memory and Attention Flashbulb Memoriesvivid memories that have a live quality feeling almost as if a person is looking at a photograph of a moment locked in time Section 1 Introduction to AttentionWilliam JamesEveryone knows what attention isIt is the taking possession of the mind in clear and vivid form or one out of what seem several simultaneous possible objects or trains of thoughtPsychologists are interested in understanding how attention shapes our perception and memory and how attentional processes are guided by two competing needs of o Focusing limited mental resources on the immediate task o Monitoring ongoing stimuli to evaluate their potential significance and shifting the allocation of mental resources when necessarySection 2 Tools to Measure AttentionAttentionthe ability to selectively focus consciously or unconsciously on relevant stimuli in our environment in order to navigate successfully and economically through day experiences Cocktail Party Effectdespite competing background noises a listener can focus on a single channel and still pick out relevant salient information from the backgroundDichotic Listening Paradigm Broadbent o Headphones play two different messages one into the attended ear and one into the unattended ear o The attended message is shadowed without interference from the message sent to the unattended earo The semantic content of the message sent to the attended ear is well remembered o The semantic content of the message sent to the unattended ear is vague but presentBottomUp and TopDown Processing o Twoway flow of information raw data is gathered through the senses bottomup processing which dynamically interacts with information already stored in memory topdown processing o BottomUp Processingrefers to a stimulusdriven mechanism in which attention is captured by salient change in the environment Automatically captures your attention to capture your attentionEg Police Siren captures your attention automatically o Topdown processingyou can strategically direct your attention to match your current goals and expectations from past experiences through memoryPrior knowledge about the environment helps us to efficiently find information pertinent to our goalsEg Always put your keys on the right side of your desk when youre in a rush you dont have to look all over the house but direct your search to the right of your desk for your keys o Eg Answering a question about a painting about wealtheyes look toward clothing and furniture about ageeyes look toward faces o The controlled nature of the topdown processing in directing attention conflicts with the automatic nature of bottum0up processing in the capture of attentionOrienting and the Spatial Cueing Paradigmo Spatial Cueing Paradigmmeasures the movement of attention across a scene and factors involved o Overt Attendingthe direction of attention is made clear through eye movements Textbook NotesPsych 1X03 o Covert Attendingdirection of attention not guided by eye movements but can be measured by spatial cueing where cues lead to faster target detection in periods too short for eye movementExogenous vs Endogenous cueing o Exogenous Cuesallows attention to be physically and automatically orientedPhysically orient you to a specific peripheral locationEg A flash of a box on the right or left o Endogenous Cuesallows attention to be consciously directed by interpretation of cue informationSymbolic cuesEg a left or right arrowSection 3 Further Measures of AttentionStimulus features and contextual information play a large role in how attention is directed and the limitations of attention are highlighted by instances of failure to attend to salient environmental informationVisual Search Paradigmallows attention to be measured as a function of environmental complexitySet Sizethe total number of items on the displayPopOut Effectreflects bottomup capture of attention driven by the salience of the physical properties of the target indicates that virtually salient information automatically captures attention regardless of set size o Eg Searching for a red dot among blue dotsConjunctive Searchsearching for a target defined by a combination of features o Eg Searching for a red dot among blue dots and red squareso Cannot simply rely on a single unique feature of the target to distinguish it from the distractorsThrough experience and accumulation of knowledge a schema can guide your searcha representation depicting the range of plausible objects and likely configuration of those objects within particular sceneso Familiar environmental settings and our general knowledge about their contexts schema guide our attention in amore efficient mannerContextual Cueing Paradigm o Eg searching for a T amid a background display of randomly oriented Ls of different colors o You would find the target T more and more quickly over successive trials with the same distractor display compared to your search time for a new display that youve not seen before o This is because your memory for the global spatial configuration of the old display provides a helpful context to guide your search for the target o Implicit memory mechanism is suggested because participants are unaware that these displays have been repeated yet they are faster at identifying the target in the unaltered old displaysUnattended Itemo Memory of unattended items is vaguebut unattended messages are still processed o TestDichotic listening paradigm using an ambiguous message to the attended ear They threw stones at the bank yesterday bank could mean the side of a river or a savings and loan associationThe message presented to the unattended ear contained either the word River or MoneySubjects were asked to shadow the attended message by writing it down word for word without delay or mistake
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