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Chapter 8

PSYB51 Chapter 8 Definitions

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Matthias Niemeier

Chapter 8 Definitions • attention: any of the very large set of selective processes in the brain. To deal with the impossibility of handling all inputs at once, the nervous system has evolved mechanisms that are able to restrict processing to a subset of things, places, ideas, or moments in time • selective attention: the form of attention involved when processing is restricted to a subset of the possible stimuli • reaction time (RT): a measure of the time from the onset of a stimulus to a response • cue: a stimulus that might indicate where (or what) a subsequent stimulus will be. Cues can be valid (correct information), invalid (incorrect), or neutral (uninformative) • stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA): the time between the onset of one stimulus and the onset of another • visual search: looking for a target in a display containing distracting elements • target: the goal of a visual search • distractor: in visual search, any stimulus other than the target. • set size: the number of items in a visual display • feature search: search for a target defined by a single attribute, such as a salient color or orientation • salience: the vividness of a stimulus relative to its neighbors • parallel: in visual attention, referring to the processing of multiple stimuli at the same time • serial self-terminating search: a search from item to item, ending when a target is found • guided search: search in which attention can be restricted to a subset of possible items on the basis of information about the target item’s basic features (e.g., its color) • conjunction search: search for a target defined by the presence of two or more attributes (e.g., a red, vertical target among red horizontal and blue vertical distractors) • binding problem: the challenge of tying different attributes of visual stimuli (e.g., color, orientation, motion), which are handled by different brain circuits, to the appropriate object so that we perceive a unified object (e.g., red, vertical, moving right) • pre attentive stage: the processing of a stimulus that occurs before selective attention is deployed to that stimulus • feature integration theory: Anne Treisman’s theory of visual attention, which holds that a limited set of basic features can be processed in parallel preattentively, but that other properties, including the correct binding of features to objects, require attention • illusory conjunction: an erroneous combination of two features in a visual scene—for example, seeing a red X when the display contains red letters and Xs but no red Xs • rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP): an experimental procedure in which stimuli appear in a stream at one location (typically the point of fixation) at a rapid rate (typically about eight per second) • attentional blink: the difficulty in perceiving and responding to the second of two target stimuli ami
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