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Flashcards in Attention Deck (16)
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Overt vs. covert attention

Overt: paying attention with full body language
Covert: paying attention, but not acting like it


Selective attention

Filtering the stimuli that we process/attend to
Attending to whatever matches a "criterion"
Attending to what changes suddenly, ignoring the rest


Automatic processing

Processing that occurs without attention (automatically) and requires few cognitive resources (little demand on attention)
Depends on practice and difficulty of task


Controlled processing

Processing that requires attention and significant cognitive resources
Difficult tasks or not-practiced ones


When divided attention can be accomplished

When tasks that attention is divided between are fairly easy and sufficiently practiced


Late selection theory

All incoming stimuli processed for meaning prior to selection occurring


McKay's ambiguous sentence experiment

Evidence for late selection theory
Dichotic listening experiment: attended ear "they were throwing stones at the bank", unattended ear "river" or "money"
People were more likely to choose the definition of "bank" that they had heard in the unattended ear


Flanker task

Evidence for late selection theory
Blank circle presented: 1 of 2 stimuli put in circle
When distractor stimuli (stimuli outside of circle) were added, congruent (same stimuli as one in circle) was processed faster than incongruent (different stimuli than one in circle)


Problem with late selection theory

Inefficient- takes up a lot of cognitive resources


Broadbent's filter model

Early selection theory
Messages from environment come in -> enter sensory memory -> unimportant stimuli filtered out -> attended message is passed onto detector -> processed for meaning
What distinguishes important message from unimportant: physical characteristics (tone, pitch, volume, etc.)


Supporting evidence for early selection theory

Dichotic listening experiments (at the same time, problem: people hear the other message even when trying to ignore it)


Evidence against early selection theory

1. Dear Aunt Jane experiment: dear Aunt Jane message in one ear, counting in other (switch off every other word)- people hear whole message, even though some of it occurred in the unattended ear
2. Cocktail party effect (when in a conversation with someone, you pay attention to someone else saying your name)
3. Flanker task


Treisman's attenuation theory

Evidence for intermediate selection
Similar to volume control: attenuator adjusts some stimuli up while adjusting others down
Messages -> attenuator -> attended message (amplified) and unattended message (subdued) -> dictionary unit (determines meaning of message, mostly the attended message unless the unattended message has significance) -> to memory


Problems that intermediate selection theory addresses

Cocktail party effect
Dichotic listening task


How low perceptual loads are processed

Not much stimuli to sort through
Flanker effect occurs (congruent is faster than incongruent)
Processing for meaning


How high perceptual loads are processed

Lots of stimuli to sort through
No Flanker effect
Physical processing only