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Chapter 4

PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Inattentional Blindness, Cognitive Psychology, Change Blindness

Course Code
PSYC 2650

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Chapter 4
Paying Attention
Selective Attention
William James is a influential person in cognitive psychology
o Famous quote of what attention is
Concentration on something to do it effectively but you
sacrifice concentration on something else
Dichotic Listening
Dichotic listening is a method to study attention
o Participants put on headphones, heard one input in the left and
different one in the right
o Participants were told to pay attention to one of these channels
The attended channel
o And told to ignore the other sound in the other ear
The unattended channel
o Took make sure participants are paying attention they are usually
given a task
Called shadowing
They were listening to a speech on the left side they had
to repeat it back word for word
Although the people could not understand the input of the unattended
channel they could realize if it was music or speech, high or low, or woman or
Some Unattended Inputs Are Detached
Some people don't follow this pattern and information seems to ‘leak’
through and get noticed
o Words with personal importance in the unattended channel was
This is known as the cocktail party effect
o You may be focusing on your conversation but if you hear your friends
name it catches your attention and you listen to it
Perceiving and the Limits on Cognitive Capacity
You block off unimportant input
o Part of bottleneck theories
Early theories of attention
o Suggested that you erect a filter that shields you from potential
You process the attended channel

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New research shows that cant separate undesirable
attractions from desirable ones
You are able to promote the processing of desired stimuli
Inattentional Blindness
A fixation target is a mark on the screen you focus on while trying to detect
something about another stimuli
Inattentional blindness is when you fail to see something in front of you due
to the fact you were not expecting or prepared to see it
Perception requires more than having stimulus in front of you
Conscious Perception, Unconscious perception
There is no conscious perception without attention
o Mack and Rock argue
Although the Muller-Lyer illusion shows differently
o You can unconsciously detect and be influenced by patterns without
being aware of it
Change Blindness
Change blindness is the observers inability to detect changes in scenes they
are directly looking at
o What’s the difference between the pictures
Early Versus Late Selection
People missing stimuli in front of their eyes is explained in 2 ways
o Perception
They don't see the stimuli
o Memory
People see it but forget it
The early selection hypothesis states the attended input is identified and
privileged from the start so that unattended input receives little or no
Late selection hypothesis states all inputs receive complete analysis, and the
selection is done after all the analysis is finished
o Selection may be done before consciousness or just after we are
conscious of it but we don't remember the unattended input
Both of these hypothesis are a bit true
These may be the case because some stimuli needs more attention then
others leaving no resources left
o But for simple stimuli less resources are needed
Brain activity shows both early and late selection
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