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Chapter 3

Cognitive Psyc Chapter 3.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
Psychology 2135A/B
Professor
Ruby Nadler

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Cognitive Psyc. Chapter 3: Attention The primary goal of attention research is to understand which information is selected, how it is selected, and what happens to both selected and unselected information. External attention refers to attending to objects in the environment or to specific features of those objects.  These objects can be of diff modalities, location, point in time, etc. o All of these object characteristics can influence external attention.  E.g. with Sperling’s partial report task… the tone cued what row to attend to. They would only be able to attend to that row if info still available in visual information store. Internal attention refers to regulating our internal mental life such as planning what to eat for dinner.  It controls how information is managed in ST working memory and LTM. Important distinction: EA = focus on perceptual objects as opposed to IA = focus on trains of thought. Milgram proposed that in midtown Manhattan you can spot 220,000 people within a 10min radius of ones office…Compares to information overload … in which perhaps one spends less time on each input, disregards low-priority inputs, etc. Bottleneck theory: that selection is necessary whenever too much information reaches a bottleneck – a stage that cannot process all of it. In other words.. how ppl select info when some info processing stage becomes overloaded with too much info. Concentration: investing mental effort in one or more tasks Mental effort: The amount of mental capacity required to perform a task. Capacity theory: A theory proposing that we have a limited amount of mental effort to distribute across tasks, so there are limitations on the number of tasks we can perform at the same time. BOTTLENECK THEORIES Broadbent’s Filter Model Study: Navy guys listened to 3 pairs of digits. E.g. 73-42-15 One digit of a pair was announced at one ear, while the other digit of a pair would be at other ear. E.g. 741 to right ear… 325 to left ear. GROUP ONE Pairs separated by a 0.5 second interval Subjects asked to report the digits in whatever order they choose RESULTS: able to report 65% (remember 65 as in beatles as in SARGEANT peppers lonely hearts club band) of the lists correctly.  Note: almost ALL the correct reports involved recalling all the digits presented to one ear, FOLLOWED by all the digits presented to the other ear. E.g. subject would say 741-325, or perhaps 325-741. GROUP TWO Instructed to recall the digits in order of arrival: the first pair of digits, followed by the second pair, etc. Pairs separated by a range of 0.5 to 2 second interval RESULTS: Performance was better at the longer intervals… nevertheless it was much worse THAN when subjects could recall the digits heard in one ear and then the other ear.  Broadbent accounted for his findings by using the FILTER MODEL! Filter model: The proposition that a bottleneck occurs at the pattern recognition stage and that attention determines what info reaches the pattern recognition stage.  The mechanical model consists of a Y-shaped tube and a set of identifiable balls. The tube has a narrow stem that can accept only a single ball at a time (the limited capacity perceptual channel), but upper branches (the sensory store) are wider and can accept more than one ball at a time. At the junction of the stem and branches is a hinged flap = the filter, which can swing back and forth to allow balls from either branch of the Y to enter the stem! Limited capacity perceptual channel: The pattern recognition stage of Broadbent’s model, which is protected by the filter (attention) from becoming overloaded with too much perceptual information. The bottleneck relates to the navy guys experiment cuz if they were forced to report the digits as they arrived, the flap would have to be shifted back and forth to allow balls to enter the stem in the order in which they arrived. The easiest case should be when the listener can report all the digits entering one ear before reporting all the digits entering the other ear. Therefore only a single shift of attention is required. BUT, the shift has to occur BEFORE the information entering the unattended ear decays from the sensory store. Limitation of Filter Model: the sensory store would have to last fairly long to operate as proposed; otherwise, the information would decay before it could be recognized. Treisman’s Attenuation Model Shadowing: requires people to repeat the attended message out loud.  The initial findings of shadowing supported the filter model (ppl almost complete unaware of the content of the msg played to unattended ear) o However, later research showed they could report some info on unattended channel on occasion (even their own names!) Finding: The contextual effects of language can cause ppl to report words on unattended channel and therefore shadow inappropriately. The two examples: 1) …I SAW THE GIRL / song was WISHING…. Me that bird/ JUMPING in the street… 2) …SITTING AT A MAHOGANY/ three POSSIBILITIES … let us look at these/ TABLE with her head. First line = msg asked to attend to Second line = unattended msg  Words in Caps are the words actually spoken by the subjects. Finding: The intrusions from the unattended channel fit the semantic context better than the words on the attended channel.  The contextual cues were not sufficient to cause subjects to change permanently to the unattended message in order to follow the meaning of the passage, BUT the results did raise some questions for the filter theory. o E.g. if the filter blocks unattended stuff, how could they recall stuff like their names on unattended channel? Due to the inconsistencies of filter theory to account for this, Treisman came up with a model that has 2 parts: a selective filter and a “dictionary”. The filter in Treisman’s model does not completely block out the unattended msg as filter theory does. Instead, the filter attenuates the info, making it less likely to be heard. Recognizing a word occurs in the dictionary if the intensity or loudness of the word exceeds its threshold (the min. intensity needed for recognition). Two important things about thresholds: 1) They vary across words (some have lower like ur name, or higher like “table” Thresholds relate to Treisman’s model cuz words on the unattended channel were sometimes incorrectly shadowed if they better fit the context of the msg on the attended channel. The Deutsch-Norman Memory Selection Model Recall: the models proposed by Broadbent (filter theory) and Treisman (attenuation theory) propose that the bottleneck occurs at the pattern recognition stage.  However, the Deutsch bros. and Norman propose that the bottleneck occurs after pattern recognition.  Therefore the problem is not one of perception, but one of SELECTION into memory after perception occurs. o Because selection occurs later, these models are often referred to as late-selection models. Late-selection model: Proposal that the bottleneck occurs when information is selected for memory.  The model assumes that words in both conversations (in a shadowing experiment) are recognized but are quickly forgotten UNLESS they are important.  Words on the attended channel are important cuz ppl have to shadow them. Words on the unattended channel are usually unimportant cuz listener is asked to attend to other channel. Although recognized, they are quickly forgotten unless they are important – a persons own name for e.g. Broadbent’s model: 2 most important stages: filter and sensory store  Attention rep’d by the filter that determines what info is recognized. An unattended msg can be recognized only if attention switches to that msg before it decays from the sensory store. Treisman’s model: 2 most important stages: filter and pattern recognition  The filter attenuates the unattended msg, with the idea that very few words are recognized on the unattended channel, unless their thresholds for pattern recog. Are LOW enough to be exceeded by (go beyond) the attenuated msg. Deutsch-Norman model: 2 most important stages: pattern recognition and selection.  Both msgs are recognized, but only words selected into MEMORY can be later recalled. Treisman said that ppl should do equally well in tapping to target words on the attended and unattended ears if the bottleneck occurred at the response-selection stage. She proposed that ppl should do much better in tapping to the target words in the attended ear if the bottleneck occurred at the PERCEPTION STAGE. The participants detected the target words 87% of the time that it occurred in the attended ear and only 8% of the time that it occurred in the unattended ear, supporting the hypothesis that the bottleneck occurred at the PERCEPTION STAGE.  However Deutsch’s didn’t accept these results as evidence against their theory. They said that the shadowed words on the attended msg are more important cuz they are shadowed, and this added importance increased the probability that they would elicit the tapping response. CAPACITY THEORIES It is harder to select information based on meaning as opposed to pitch or location; more mental effort (capacity) is required for late selection after pattern recognition than for early selection before pattern recognition. Example of a Capacity Model Capacity theories are concerned with amt of mental effort required to perform a task.  Kahneman’s “Attention and Effort” (1973) helped to shift the emphasis from bottleneck theories to capacity theories. o Kahneman: a capacity theory assumes there is a general limit on a person’s capacity to perform mental work. His model was designed to supplement, not replace, the bottleneck models. A bottleneck theory says interference occurs cuz the same mechanism, such as speech recognition, is required to carry out two incompatible operations at the same time. A capacity model proposes that interference occurs when the demands of 2 activities exceed available capacity. Allocation of capacity: when a limited amount of capacity is distributed to various tasks.  When the supply of attention does not meet the demands, the level of performance declines. K’s model says that the amt of capacity available depends on the level of arousal: more capacity is available when arousal is moderately high than when it is low!  BUT, very high levels of arousal can interfere with performance. Yerkes and Dodson’s 1908 law: performance is best at intermediate levels of arousal. The level of arousal can be controlled by feedback (evaluation) from the attempt to meet the demands of ongoing activities, as long as the total demands don’t exceed the capacity limit.  Choice of which activities to support is influenced by both enduring dispositions and momentary intentions. o Enduring dispositions: reflect the rules of involuntary attention (automatic) o Momentary intentions: reflect our specific go
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