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PSYCH 207: Midterm #2 Textbook Notes

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University of Waterloo
Jonathan Fugelsang

CHAPTER 4Automaticity with extensive practice a task may become so easyeffortless that performing it requires no attention attention is freed up for a person to do another task simultaneouslySELECTIVE ATTENTIONSelective attention we usually focus our attention on 1 or a few tasksevents at any given timeDichotic listening task a task in which a person hears 2 or more different recorded messages over earphones and is asked to shadow one of them repeat out loud o Binaural presentation when both messages are heard in both ears o Since shadowing requires a great deal of mental resources fewer resources are available to process information from the nonshadowed unattended message o Participants could NOT recall the content or language of the unattended message Broadbents Filter TheoryFilter theory information that exceeds ones capacity to process at any given time is blocked from further processing theres a limit to how much info one can attend to at any given timeThe filter selects information for later processingThe attention filter is set to make a selection of what messages to process EARLY before the meaning of the message is identified o This explains why so little of the meaning of the unattended massage can be recalled the meaning from an unattended message is simply not processedHOWEVER 2 messages that contain little information or that present information slowly can be processed simultaneously bc it is not too much information for our brain to process at onceTHEREFORE the filter protects us from information overload 1 Moray discovered the cocktail party effect o Shadowing performance is disrupted when ones own name is embedded in either the attended or the unattended message the person hearsremembers their name o This proved the filter theory wrong bc the filter theory says that ALL unattended messages are filtered out however people do hear their own names in an unattended messageconversation which will cause them to switch their attention o only important material can penetrate the filter that blocks unattended messagesTreisman played participants 2 distinct messages in different ears and asked participants to shadow one of them but at a certain point in the middle of the message the content of the first ndstmessage and the second message was switched so that the 2 continued the story of the 1o RESULT participants repeated 1 or 2 words from the unattended ear when the messages were switched between the 2 ears o THEREFORE participants base their selection of what message to attend to at least in part on the meaning of the message goes against the filter theoryWoodCowan also did a variation of the dichotic listening task where the unattended message was switched to play backwards o RESULT the participants that noticed the change processed information in the unattended message made more errors in shadowing the attended message processing the unattended message affected their performance on the main task o CONCLUSION the attentional shift to the unattended message was unintentional and completed without awareness o CONCLUSION Participants who detect their name in the unattended message have a lower workingmemory span less able to block the unattended message less focusAnne Triesmans Attenuation TheoryAttenuation theory unattended perceptual events are transmitted in weakened form but NOT blocked completely before being processed for meaning o the volume of unattended messages was turned downIncoming messages are subjected to 3 kinds of analysis physical properties pitch loudness linguistic syllables words and semantic meaning of the messageWords that have subjective importance have permanently lowered thresholds name fire o This means they are recognizable even at low volumes requires little mental effort 2
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