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Paying Attention.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC-2600
Professor
Halldorson
Semester
Summer

Description
Selective Attention Selective Attention- refers to the fact that we usually focus our attention on one or a few tasks or events rather than on many.  Hal Pashler (1998)- "At any given moment, people's awareness encompasses only a tiny proportion of the stimuli impinging on their sensory systems".  Dichotic listening task- a task in which a person hears two or more different, specially recorded messages over earphones and is asked t attend to one of them.  Cherry (1953)- Used this study to demonstrate that people can pick up small details about the unattended messages. For example, later they could discern whether it was a random noise or a voice. If it was speech they could tell if it was a man or a woman. If the speech was played backward they would describe something odd about the unattended audio.  Filter Theory- proposed by (1958)- states that there are limits on how much information a person attend to at any given time. The person will use an attention filter if the information available exceeds the capacity. o Moray (1959)- discovered the "Cocktail party effect" in which shadowing performance is disrupted when one's own name is embedded in either the attended or the unattended message. Moray concluded that only important material can penetrate the filter. o Treisman (1960)- performed a similar experiment with two sets of information and asked to shadow one. In the middle the messages switch ears; may participants repeated a few words from the unattended ear. Participants must be basing their selection of which message to attend to at least in part on the meaning of the message. o Wood and Cowan (1995)- Dichotic listening task with the unattended message played backward for 30 seconds then followed by either 2.5 minutes or 1.5 minutes of normal speech; there was also a control group with no backward speech.  Made most errors during the 30 seconds.  Those who noticed the change tended to make more errors during the time frame.  The control group made no errors.  They concluded the attentional shift was unintentional and done without awareness. Their attention was capture by the backward speech, hindering performance. o Conway, Cowan, Bunting (2001)- those who detect their name in the unattended message are those who have a lower working memory span. This lower span results in less ability to actively block the unattended message.  Attenuation Theory- developed by Treisman; the volume of the unattended information is turned down so important information can still be pulled out. o There are three steps to processing incoming information: 1. Physical properties such as pitch. 2. Linguistic 3. Semantic analysis o Important information such as your name has a lower threshold of mental effort required to process it. Also, primed words are more likely to be pulled out of the unattended message if they fit with the rest of the attended message. o Pashler (1998)- the above phenomena is diminished if multiple words are in the unattended message.  Late-Selection Theory- Developed by Deutsch and Deutsch and later added to by Norman; all channels of information are regularly check upon for meaning and the channel to attend to is decided later in processing. o Filter theory proposes a bottleneck (the filter) while late-selection theory merely relocated this bottleneck. o Pashler (1998) agrees most evidence support the idea that some unattended information gets processed, but this can easily be explained by attentional lapses or special cases of important stimuli. Attention Capacity and Mental Effort o Daniel Kahneman (1973)-viewed attention as a set of processes for categorizing and recognizing stimuli. The more complex a stimulus, the more mental effort required to process it. o The amount of mental effort available (or ability to allocate attention) is greatly dependent on alertness. o Some performance is data limited, meaning that despite all effort put in, you will not be able to detect a stimulus. The performance depends on the quality of the stimulus.  Schema Theory- developed by Ulric Neisser (1976); suggest that unattended information is simply ignored and not process, similar to deciding to leave a particular apple on a tree when apple picking. o Neisser and Becklin performed a study of visual attention with two visual superimposed displays in which participants were expected to follow the event of one display and indicate when a certain task was done. Participants easily focussed on one firm and ignored unexpected events in the unattended visual presentation. This suggests that it is a skilled process in which current perception guides what you will continue to perceive.  Inattentional Blindness- missing an obvious stimulus unless focussed on it. o Daniel Simons- the study of a basketball game being watched and participants were asked to report the amount of passes performed by either the white team or black team. Most people miss a person who walks through wearing a Gorilla suit. However, participants asked to watch the team wearing black were more likely to report seeing the Gorilla. Neuroscientific Studies of Attention  Cognitive neuroscientists are interested in examining which areas of our brain are active when we attend to a stimulus or event. o Hemineglect occurs with damage to parietal lobe. This is attentional not sensory. Networks of Visual Attention  Three networks of visual attention according to Posner and Raichle (1994). They performed a study in which a participant was seated in front of a display with a fixation point between two boxes. A box will light up or an arrow will direct the participant's attention to the source of the upcoming stimulus. The cue is sometimes incorrect or not given at all. They must indicate the moment they detect the stimulus. o Three distinct operations include disengaging the attention from the original spot, moving the focus to a new spot, and enhancing or emphasizing the new location.  Barkley (1998)- those with ADHD don't struggle to be alert, but rather have an inability to commit mental resources to tedious tasks.  Logan, Schachar, Tannock (2000)- ADHD is actually due to an inability to inhibit and ongoing response when asked to do work.  Three Networks: 1. Alerting Network- frontal and parietal lobes of right hemisp
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