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Chapter 4

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Susanne Ferber

Jan 23, 2012, PSY270 chapter 4- Attention  Attention: ability to focus on specific stimuli or locations  Selective attention: focusing of attention on one specific location, object or message. Not only highlights whatever is being attended, but also keeps us from perceiving whatever isn’t being attended  Overt attention: process of shifting attention from one place to another by moving the eyes, movements of the eyes provide observable signals of how attention is changing over time  Covert attention: occurs when attention is shifted without moving the eyes, commonly referred to as seeing something out of the corner of the eye  Divided attention: attending to two or more things at once. Can be overt and covert or a combination of the two  Dichotic listening: different messages presented to two ears. Participants instructed to pay attention to one message presented to one ear (attended message) and ignore the message presented to the other ear (the unattended message)  Shadowing: procedure of repeating a message out loud. Used to ensure that participants are focusing their attention on the attended message  Early selection model: introduced the flow diagram to cognitive psychology, proposed that information passes through the following stages. Messages -> sensory memory -> filter –(attended message)> detector -> to memory  Sensory memory: holds all the incoming information for a fraction of a second then transfers to next stage  Filter: identifies the attended message based on physical characteristics e.g. tone, voice, pitch speed, accent  Detector: processes information to determine higher-level characteristics of the message, such as meaning  Short-term memory: receives the output of the detector. Holds information for 10-15 secs and also transfer information into long term memory, which can hold information indefinitely  Bottleneck model: Broadbent’s model: the filter restricts information flow, much as the neck of a bottle restricts the flow of liquid  Filter restricts the large amount of information available to a person so that only some of this information gets through to the detector  Cocktail party effect: person selectively listening to one message among many yet hears his or her name or some other distinctive message  Taking meaning of the words into account  Attenuator: analyzes the incoming message in terms of its physical characteristics whether it is high pitched or low pitched, slow or fast. The language, how the message groups into syllables or words and its meaning, how sequences of words create meaningful phrases.  Attenuation theory of attention: language and meaning can also be used to separate the messages  Once the attended and unattended messages have been identifies, both essages are let through the attenuator, but the attended message emerges at full strength and the unattended messages are attenuated, they are still present, but are weaker than the attended message  At least some of the unattended message gets through the attenuator, Treisman’s model = leaky filter model  Dictionary unit: contains stored words, each of which has a threshold for being activated  Threshold is the smallest signal strength that can barely be detected. A word with a low threshold might be detected even when it is presented softly or is obscured by other words Jan 23, 2012, PSY270 chapter 4- Attention  Broadbent’s and Treisman’s are called early selection theories of selective attention. They propose a filter that operates at an early stage in the flow of information, eliminating information based only on physical characteristics of the stimulus  Late selection models: Mckay: most of incoming information is processed to the level of meaning before the message to be processed is selected  Cognitive resources: refers to idea that a person has certain cognitive capacity, can be used for carrying out various tasks  Cognitive load: amount of a person’s cognitive resources needed to carry out a particular cognitive tasks  Low-load tasks: use up only a small amount of the person’s cognitive resources  High-load tasks: use more of a person’s cognitive resources  Flanker compatibility task: participants told to carry out a task that requires them to
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