Chapter 4 - Attention Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 4 - Attention Deck (44):


the ability to focus on specific stimuli or locations.


selective attention

attending to one thing while ignoring others.



one stimulus interfering with the processing of another stimulus.


divided attention

paying attention to more than one thing at a time.


attentional capture

a rapid shifting of attention usually caused by a stimulus such as a loud noise, bright light, or sudden movement.


visual scanning

movements of the eyes from one location or object to another.


Broadbent's filter model of attention

model of attention that proposes a filter that lets attended stimuli through and blocks some or all of the unattended stimuli.


dichotic listening

the procedure of presenting one message to the left ear and a different message to the right ear.



the procedure of repeating what you are hearing.


cocktail party effect

the ability to focus on one stimulus while filtering out other stimuli, especially at a party where there are a lot of simultaneous conversations.


bottleneck model

model of attention that proposes that incoming information is restricted at some point in processing, so only a portion of the information gets through to consciousness.

Broadbent's model of attention is an example of a bottleneck model.


early selection model

model of attention that explains selective attention by early filtering out of the unattended message.

In Broadbent's early selection model, the filtering step occurs before the message is analyzed to determine its meaning.



analyzes the incoming message in terms of (1) its physical characteristics - high-pitched or low pitched, fast or slow; (2) language - how the message groups into syllables or words; (3) its meaning - how sequences of words create meaningful phrases.


attenuation model of attention

Anne Treisman's model of selective attention that proposes that selection occurs in two stages. In the first stage, an attenuator analyzes the incoming message and lets through the attended message - and also the unattended message, but at a lower (attenuated) strength.


dictionary unit

contains words, stored in memory, each of which has a threshold for being activated.


late selection models of attention

a model of selective attention that proposes that selection of stimuli for final processing does not occur until after the information in the message has been analyzed for meaning.


processing capacity

refers to the amount of information people can handle and sets a limit on their ability to process incoming information


perceptual load

related to the difficult of a task.

low-load tasks or high load tasks


low-load task

uses only a small amount of a person's processing capacity.


high-load task

use more of the person's processing capacity.


load theory of attention

proposal that the ability to ignore task-irrelevant stimuli depend on the load of the task the person is carrying out. High-load tasks result in less distraction.


Stroop effect

originally studied by J. R. Stroop, using a task in which a person is instructed to respond to one aspect of a stimulus, such as the color of ink that word is printed in, and ignore another aspect, such as the color that the word names.

the Stroop effect refers to the fact that people fins this task difficult when for example, the word RED is printed in blue ink.


overt attention

shifting attention from one place to another while moving the eyes.


covert attention

shifting attention from one place to another while keeping the eyes stationary.



in problem solving, peoples tendency to focus on a specific characteristic of the problem that keeps them from arriving at a solution.


saccadic eye movement

a rapid, jerky movement from one fixation to the next


stimulus salience

bottom-up factors that determine attention to elements of a scene.

physical properties of the stimulus, such as color, contrast, or movement


saliency map

map of a scene that indicates the stimulus salience of area and objects in the scene



a procedure in which participants are given a cue that will usually help them carry out a subsequent task.

this procedure has been used in visual attention experiments in which participants are presented with a cue that tells them where to direct their attention.


same-object advantage

occurs when the enhancing effect of attention spreads throughout an object, so that attention to one place on an object results in a facilitation of processing at other places on the object.


automatic processing

a type of processing that occurs without intention and at a cost of only some of a person's cognitive resources


inattention blindness

not attending to something that is clearly visible


change blindness

difficulty in detecting changes in scenes



the process by which features such as color, form, motion, and location are combined to create our perception of a coherent object.


binding problem

the question of how an object's individual features become bound together.


feature integration theory

an approach to object perception, developed by Anne Treisman, that proposes a sequence of stages in which features are first analyzed and then combined to result in perception of an object.


pre-attentive stage

the first stage of Treisman's feature integration theory, in which an object is analyzed into its features.


illusory conjunctions

a situation, demonstrated in experiments by Anne Treisman, in which features from different objects are inappropriately combined.


focused attention stage

the second stage of Treisman's feature integration theory. According to the theory, attention causes the combination of features into perception of an object.


Balint's syndrome

a condition caused by brain damage in which a person has difficulty focusing attention on individual objects.


visual search

occurs when a person is looking for one stimulus or object among a number of other stimuli or objects.

EX: searching for a single face in a crowd of people


feature search

searching among distractors for a target item that involves detecting one feature, such as "horizontal"


conjunction search

searching among distractors for a target that involves two or more features, such as "horizontal" and "green."


topographic map

Each point on a visual stimulus causes activity at a specific location on a brain structure, such as the visual cortex, and points next to each other on the stimulus cause activity at points next to each other on the structure.