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Chapter 4

chapter 4 - Attention

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PSYC 221
Thomas Spalek

CHAPTER 4 Attention: 1. Alertness and arousal – the basic capacity to respond to the environment • Tonic changes – gradual change in states of alertness and arousal and may last for relatively long periods of time - The fatigue or loss of vigilance we encounter when performing a task for long periods of time • Phasical changes – occur when a sudden, unexpected change in the environment is detected; may be produced voluntarily 2. Orienting and searching: • Orienting - refers to the alignment of information pickup mechanisms with a source of information  Reflexive – in response to sudden changes in the environment (bottom-up)  Voluntarily – in response to our own intentions (top-down) • Orienting reflex/ orienting response – the reflexive redirection of attention that orients you toward the unexpected stimulus (overt vs covert)  Dorsal pathway – where pathway  Ventral pathway – what pathway • Voluntary attentive processes – devoting deliberate attention to the stimulus if warranted; prepares the system for further voluntary processing • Habituation – a gradual reduction of the orienting response back to baseline; becoming accustomed to a stimulus • Voluntary covert orienting – voluntary shifts of attention made without overt shifts in gaze • Michael Posner experiment:  Benefit – the advantage in processing a target stimulus relative to a neutral condition, that can be attributed to the processing f another, usually congruent stimulus  Cost – the disadvantage in processing a target stimulus, relative to a neutral condition, that can be attributed to the processing of another, usually incongruent, stimulus  Spotlight attention – covert focusing of attention that prepares you to encode stimulus information  Inhibition of return – we are slower to return to a location where attention has recently been drawn than to move to a new location - May operate to help make visual search more efficient • Visual search – joint operation of bottom-up and top-down control of attention; largely automatic and occurs in parallel  Anne Treisman and associates  Disjuction condition – the search for a simple feature  Conjunction condition – search for the combination of two features (longer RT) - More conscious and deliberate act, more serial, one-by-one fashion  RT may depend on the kinds of distractor and the similarity of the patterns to the target  Inhibition of return – an inhibition of orienting following orienting that is controlled by bottom-up signals; seem to facilitate serial search by discouraging reinspection  Conclusion: clear evidence of both a very quick, automatic attentional process – essentially the capture of attention due to “pop-out” – and a much slower, serial, and more deliberate attention  Foveation – an eye movement that places the region of a scene that requires fine, detailed processing onto the sensitive fovea  Activation map – controls orienting - The most activated region in this map will guide attention toward
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