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Chapter 3

PSYC 3260 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Fot, Thought Suppression, Blackboard

Course Code
PSYC 3260
Norman Park

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Chapter 3—attention and consciousness
Atterntion—concentration of mental activity that allows our cognitive processes to take in a limited portion of the vast stream of info available from both
your sensory world and your memory
Important “gatekeeper”
Allows you to direct your mental effort toward thoughts and environmental stimuli that are most important to your currant goals
Attention tasks rely on both bottom up and top down processing
oWe sometimes concentrate our mental activity because an interesting stimulus in the environment has captured our attention (bottom up).
i.e. an object in peripheral vision suddenly moves and you turn your head. OR we concentrate our mental activity because we want to
pay attention to some specific stimulus (top down) i.e. searching for a particular friend in the caf
Attention refers to multiple coordinated systems and processes that work togeather, allowing you to focus strategically on info that is most relevant
given your current goals
Three tasks used to scientifically study attention
Divided attention task
Trying to pay attention to two or more simultaneous messages, responding appropriately to each message
Paying equal attention to two or more kinds of info
Speed and accuracy suffer
Multitask—try to accomplish two or more tasks at the same time
oStrains the limits of attention, working memory, and long-term memory
Research focuses on ppl who use cells and drive
oReaction times are slower, even with hands free cell phones
oShows form of inattentional blindness
oTheir attention was reduced for info that appeared in the center of their visual field
oAs a driver you are more distracted when passenger is on phone
Task switching related to multitasking—roomate keeps inturupting you while studying—make more errors during transitions
Research on divided attention shows that performance suffers when ppl must attend to several stimuli simultaneously.
Selective attention tasks
Requires ppl to pay attention to certain kinds of info, while ignoring other ongoing info
Simplifies our lives
Three diff kinds of selective attention tasks
Dichotic listening—studied by ppl wearing earphones; one message is presented in one ear and a diff msg in the other—on the phone while
paying attention to a convo beside you
oResearch shows that we typically notice little abt an irrelavent auditory msg.
oParticipants are asked to shadow the message in one ear—they listen to that msg and repeat it after the speaker—if listener makes
mistakes, researcher knows they weren’t paying appropriate attention to specified msg
oPpl notice very little abt the unattended second msg—didn’t notice the switch to a diff language—did notice whther the voice of the
unattended msg was switched from male to female
oPpl can process only one msg at a time
oPpl are more likely to process the unattended msg if:
Both msgs are presented slowly
The main task is not challenging
The meaning og the unattended msg is immediately relevant
oCocktain party effect—noticing your name
oWorking memory—the brief immediate memory for material that we are currently processing
One reason why ppl might not hear their name
High working memory capacity noticed name 20 % of time
Low working memory capacity noticed 65% of time—ppl with low have difficulty blocking out the irrelavent info such as
their name—meaning they are easily distracted
oWhen ppls attention is divided, they can sometimes notice characteristics of the unattented msg (speakers gender and their own name).
under more challenging conditions, they might not even notice whether the unattended msg is in english or not
The Stroop Effect SE
oPpl take a long time to name the ink colour when the colour is used in printing an incongruent word
oThey can quickly name that same ink colour when it appears as a solid patch of colour
oSE demonstrates selective attention: ppl take longer to pay attention to a colour when they are distracted by another feature of the
stimulus, namely the meaning of the name itself
oOne explanation—adults have had much more practice in reading words than in naming colours
The more automatic process (reading word) interferes with the less automatic process (naming colour of ink)
oVaritaitons of SE—emotional Stroop task—ppl are instructed to name the ink colour of words that could have strong emotional
significance to them.
Phobic disorder—an excessive fear of a specific object—person with fear of spiders would take a longer time to name the
colours of words such as hairy and crawl
Ppl with phobias are sig slower on these anxiety-arousing words than on control words—ppl w/o phobias show no diff
Results suggest that ppl who have PD are hyper alert to words related to their phobia and they show attentional bias to the
meaning of these stimuli—describes a situation in which ppl pay extra attention to some stimuli or features
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