Attention Psychology – Selective – Divided – Visual

Majority of attention notes taken from Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook by Eysenck & Keane (click image), which I recommend for its readability and theory evaluation.

 

FOCUSED AUDITORY ATTENTION

Cherry (1953) – cocktail party problem

– listeners couldn’t separate meaning of 2 messages played to both ears

– shadowing (repeat back msg while hearing another in other ear): very little info from non attended

– concluded non-attended info gets no processing

 

BROADBENT’S FILTER THEORY (1958) – EARLY FILTER

– 4-9-6 in one ear and 8-5-2 in other: 496852 recalled instead of 489562

Concludes:

  1. a) both messages get held in buffer, where one stays for later processing
  2. b) other is allowed through a filter because of its physical characteristics (e.g. what ear)

– there’s limited capacity to process inputs thoroughly so this prevents overloading

SUPPORT: consistent with Broadbent’s and part of Cherry’s observations

BUT:

Underwood (1974) – experienced shadowers recalled majority of the message

Moray (1959) – sig.minority of people hear their name in unattended message

Gray & Wedderburn (1960) – “Who 6 there” and “4 goes 1” recalled as “who goes there” and “4 6 1”: so meaning not physical characteristics

 

TREISMAN’S ATTENUATION THEORY (1969)  – MID FILTER

– stimulus analysis goes through a hierarchy

– physical cues; then syllable pattern & specific words; then meaning

– if not enough capacity to allow full analysis, tests at top of hierarchy left out

SUPPORT:

covers processing of unattended messages that Broadbent’s doesn’t

 

DEUTSCH & DEUTSCH (1963) – LATE FILTER

– all stimuli are analysed, with the most important determining response  

– subjects had to shadow one message but look for a target in either message

– subjects got more target words from shadow; Treisman predicts shadow(???p157)

BUT:

Coch et al (2005) – more ERPs for attended targets message than unattended

 

 

FOCUSED VISUAL ATTENTION

AUTOMATIC VS CONTROLLED PROCESSES

POSNER (1980)

Voluntary/ endogenous system: controlled by our intentions & expectations; involved when peripheral cues shown

Exogenous system: automatically shifts attention; involved when stimuli that differ from other stimuli are shown

Corbetta & Shulman (2002) – argued system ha

 

 

DIVIDED ATTENTION: DUAL TASK PERFORMANCE

TASK SIMILARITY

Treisman (1973) – monitoring tasks interfered with each other when stimuli on each task had same sense modality (e.g. visual or auditory)

McLeod (1977) – performed worse on task where response mode was similar (e.g. using 2 hands, or hand and voice)

PRACTICE

Spelke et al (1976) – trained 2 students to read short stories while writing dictation in 6 weeks

BUT:

methodology e.g. they could read when they wanted so might not be multitasking

TASK DIFFICULTY

Sullivan (1976) – performance worse with increased difficulty on shadowing task with detection of target word on non-attended task

 

CENTRAL CAPACITY VS MULTIPLE RESOURCES

KAHNEMAN (1973)

– there’s a central capacity (central executive; attention) that can be used for a wide range of activities

– it has limited resources so multitasking depends on how much resource is used

SUPPORT:

Bourke et al (1996) – of 4 tasks, the task demanding most capacity interfered with all other tasks

BUT:

  1. Hegarty et al (2000) – in a similar study couldn’t replicate the findings
  2. theory and evidence doesn’t tell us much about the nature of the capacity
  3. circular because evidence gives us description of findings not an explanation

 

WICKENS (1984)

– we have several pools of resources split by stage of processing, modality (audio/ visual), codes (spatial/ verbal) & response (manual/ vocal)

– if 2 tasks use different pools then we can multitask without disruption

SUPPORT:

– support from task similarity findings above

– brain imaging shows very different tasks often activates different areas indicating

they’re using different resources

BUT:

– focuses only on visual and auditory inputs but what about touch?

– there’s sometimes disruption when tasks involve different modalities (e.g. Treisman ‘73)

 

COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

Just (2001)

– brain resource use during multitasking should equal task A alone + task B alone

– Just found reduction in activation in separate areas of the brain that were activated by the individual tasks

– argue devoting a limited central capacity (e.g. attention) to 2 tasks meant the amount each task could receive was reduced

 

AUTOMATIC VS CONTROLLED PROCESSING

Schneider & Shiffrin (1977)

Controlled processes: limited capacity, require attention and can be used flexibly in changing environments

Automatic processes: no capacity limitations, don’t require attention