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Chapter 4

PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Inattentional Blindness, Cocktail Party, Change Blindness

Course Code
PSYC 2650

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Cognitive Psychology – Chapter 4 – Paying Attention
Shadowing: a task in which research participants are required to repeat back a verbal input,
word for word, as they hear it
Attended channel: in selective attention experiments, research participants are exposed to
simultaneous inputs and instructed to ignore all of these except one
-the attended channel is the input to which the participants are instructed to pay
Unattended channel: a stimulus (or group of stimuli) that a person is not trying to perceive
-ordinarily, little information is understood or remembered from the unattended
Dichotic listening: a task in which research participants hear two simultaneous verbal
messages – one presented via headphones in the left ear and a second presented to the
right hear
-in typical experiments, participants are asked to pay attention to one of these inputs
(attended channel) and urged to ignore the other
- if asked, after a minute or so, to report on what was said on the unattended channel, they
- this also occurs with visual tasks – the gorilla experiment – where participants are asked to
see how many times the white team passes the ball and fail to notice a person dressed as a
gorilla walk through the game
- participants seem to be able to remember the unattended channel’s physical content (eg.
Voice, musical instrument, silence, male or female voice, etc.)
Cocktail party effect: a term used to describe a pattern in which one seems to “tune out” all
conversation reaching his or her ear except for the conversation he or she wishes to pay
attention to; however, if some salient stimulus (such as the person’s name) appears in one of
the other conversations, the person is reasonably likely to detect this stimulus
-it is thought undesired information is blocked from being processed by a filter
-desired info is not filtered out and so it goes on to be processed
-some distracters are easier to ignore than others
-we are also able to promote the processing of desired stimuli
Inattentional blindness: a pattern which perceives seem literally not to see visual stimuli right
in front of their eyes; this pattern is caused by the participants attending to some other
stimulus and not expecting the target to appear
-attention is needed for conscious perception but you may be unconsciously
influenced by patterns in the world even in the absence of attention
Change blindness: a pattern in which perceivers either do not see, or take a long time to see,
large-scale changes in a visual stimulus
-this pattern reveals how little we perceive, even from stimuli in plain view, if we are
not specifically attending to the target information
-ex: the door experiment and detecting the changes between to pictures
Early selection: a proposal that selective attention operates at an early stage of processing,
so that the unattended inputs receive little analysis (and so is never perceived)
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