Shared Flashcard Set


COMP - Cognitve and Affective - Winter 2011
Second Set

Additional Psychology Flashcards




Attention (general)
Allows us to make better usage of our cognitive abilities
Allows cognitive processes to take in selected aspects of your sensory world in a efficient and accurate manner
Attention (2 definitions)
1. -Mental process concentrating effort on a stimulus or mental event
-Activity that occurs within the cognitive system as a process
2. Mental Resource: Limited mental energy or resource that powers teh mental system
-Necessary to run the cognitive system in order for it to operate
3. Finate: limit to the amount of different things we can attend to and do all at once
Four interrelated ideas of attention.
1. More information thatn we can pay attention to
2. Limitations in how much we can attend to at one time.
3. Respond to some information and perform some tasks with little if any attention.
4. Practice --> less and less demanding for our attentional processes.
List the 6 meanings of attention.
A. Input attention:
1. Alertness or arousal
2. Orienting reflex or response
3. Spotlight attention and visual search

B. Controlled Attention
1. Selective attention
2. Mental resources and conscious processing
3. Supervisory attentional system
Describe alertness and arousal.
1. NEcessary state of nervous system: NS must be awake, responsive, and able to interact with the environment
2. Explicit processing: Involves conscious processing, conscious awareness that a task is being performed, and conscious awareness of the outcome.
3. Implicit processing: No involvement of conscious awareness.
-Some important mental processing may be accomplished with only minimal attentional involvement (e.g. Bonenakker words presented before and during surgery)
Describe reflexive attention and the orienting response.
(#1 of Six Meanings of Attention)
Reflexive redirection of attention that orients you to the source of unexpected stimuli (e.g. when a loud noise grabs your attention when studying in a quiet room).
2. Survival mechanism.
3. Habituation: gradual reduction of the orienting response back to baseline if stimulus that triggered orienting reflex occurs over and over again.
Spotlight Attention and Visual Search.
(#2 of Six Meanings of Attention)
1. Spotlight attention: mental attention focusing mechanism that prepares you to encode stimulus information.
2. Posner: cued detection task: subjects fixate on a cross, shown an arrow, told not to move eyes, but to hit space bar when they detect a targe after the directional cue (sometimes giving the wrong direction); Faster to redirect attention when in correct direction
--> Conclusion: Attentional focus is a cognitive behavior tied to an internal focusing mechanism
4. Different than orienting reflex BC it is VOLUNTARY, under the person's control, and results from a deliberate mental process (orienting reflex is reactive)
5. Treisman & Gelade: Visual search for a dimension such as shape or color occurs in parallel across an entire region of visual attention
-However, when had to look for a conjunction of features, such as a green "T" they took more time, especially when display filled with distractor items, BC subjects had to look in a more serial fashion (one-by-one)
6. Titchner's Law of Prior Entry: Stimuli that are attended to will enter our consciousness more rapidly that unattended stimuli
--> presented sound and light simultaneously, but subjects thought light was shown first
--> Conclusion: Stimuli presented to an attended modality were perceived prior to simultaneous stimuli presented to an unattended modality; Signals that are attended may be processed more quickly than unattented signals
Controlled and Voluntary Attention: Selective Attention
(#3 of Six Meanings of Attention)
1. Selective attention: Ability to purposely focus your conscious awareness onto one specific stimulus; filtering out surrounding distractions
2. Divided attention: How we divide attentional capacity across more than one source of information at a time
3. Filtering/Selecting: mental process of eliminating distractions in order to pay attention to one thing at a time
3. Different from vision (can move eyes) BC in hearing, attention has no outward, behavioral component; therefore, if we can't avoid hearing, we must be selecting and filtering out unwanted messages
4. Cherry & Taylor's Shadowing Experiments: Cocktail party phenomenon with dichotic listening task - Two different messages in two different ears and repeat what was said in a selected ear or biaurally (both messages in both ears) with no localization cues --> Only able to shadow messages if differed physically
-More mistakes if messages only different in meaning
-If focused on one message, unknown if foreign language or reversed speech
-Noticable: Different sex, speech replaced by a pure tone, if sex of speaker changed, change in loudness
-THEREFORE: It is possible to attend to one of two stimuli that differ by some physical characteristic AND when a person focuses on one message, only gross physical characteristics of the other message are noticed and remembered
Controlled and Voluntary Attention: Selective Looking (#3 of Six Meanings of Attention)
1. Change Blindness: Inability to detect changed in an object or a scene BC of selective attention
-Rensink with pictures: Easy to see a change if major/important, but not if it was minor
2. Inattentional Blindness: Inability to notice a new object that appears suddenly and unexpectedly when a person is paying attention to other events in a scene
-Neisser & Becklen: Superimposed a video of a person wlaking across the screen at a ballgame when subjects were asked to count the number of passes made during the game (therefore didn't notice person walk right across the screen)
--> Unattended Stimulus was not noticed
3. Attentional Blink: Series of stimuli is presented rapidly, and the system becomes overloaded; viewers can accurately identify the first object, but miss the second
What do Selection Models suggest?
Subjects can tune their auditory mechanisms to one message and ignore the other.

Prompted many selection/filter theories which would include other complex cognitve topics such as memory, learning, attention, etc.

Describe Broadbent's sensory Filter Theory.

(#1 Selection Models)


1. Auditory mechanism acts as a selective filter. 2. Regardless of how many competing channels or messages coming in, the filter can be tuned, or switched, ot any messages based on characteristics such as loudness or pitch. 3. Limited-Capacity Decision Channel: Only one message can be passed through the filter at a time; only information on the attended, "passed along" message can affect performance BC only it gets past the filtering mechanism 4. Split Span Listening task: Diffrent messages played simultaneously to both ears; Subjects asked to state what they heard -CONCLUSION: Physical characteristics of the message that determine if it was attended to or ignored --> Filter theory: Incoming information passes through a filter BEFORE being processed for meaning by higher centers in the brain (distracting informaiton is filterd out before it is processed for meaning) -Filter operates on the physical characteristics (e.g. color, pitch, location) of the incoming message and filters out info that doesn't have the correct characterisitcs DIAGRAM:


Broadbent's Filter Mechanism (Diagram)
Describe two predictions of Broadbent's Sensory Filter Theory.
1. There should be some short-lived memory even from an unattended inputs and these are registered in sensory memory, along iwth the attended inputs.
--> Norman (1969) confirmed: Subjects presented with info dichotically; when doing a task and interrupted, they could report the last few words from the rejected message thus concluding that subjects helf the unattended message in short term memory

2. Stimulus Selection Theory: Attentional filter selects according to physical characteristics of the incoming message.
-Assumes that some stimuli are accepted and other rejected for further processing
-Since the filter acts before contact with long-term memory, the subject should not be able to report the meaning of the rejected mesage
-Selection occurs at the stimulus end of the information processing stages.
What are the problems with Broadbent's selection theory?
1. Broadbent's theory suggests that only the attended message gets past teh filter through to conscious processing from attentino directed by physical cues, however we tend to notice info from a message we are not attending to.
2. Nielson & Sarason: Sexually explicit words are noticed immediately
3. Gray & Wedderburm: Mixed stimuli (hello joe & two three four) presented and recalled.
What is Triesman's Attenuation Theory?
1. All incoming messages receive some amount of low level analysis, including the analysis of the physical characteristics.
2. Selection of messageis not solely based upon the ear of entry, but is partially based upon the meaning of the message.

a. When unattended messages yield unuseful or important info, those messages are reduced in their informational importance to ongoing processing (instead of filtering out info according to some physical characterisitcs, the info is reducedin strength [attenuated] by the first filter
b. Attentional info then passes through a second filter that wuld process the info semantically to extract meaning.
c. If meaning is significant, info is strengthened and becomes conscious.

In the experiement:
Subjects were asked to shadow a dichotically presented message. Half way through shadowing, the message would be switched from one ear to the other. If the subjects were only paying attention to which ear the info was coming from (the only physical cue), then this manipulation shouldn't affect them. However, subjects continued to shadow the original message for a few words before they switched back to shadowing the correct ear.
--> Errors were NOT a result of the break in the message as when the message ended and another message began at the same time as the switch, as there were no errors.
Triesman's Attenuation Theory (Diagram)
Describe the Response-Selection Theories (late filter theory).
-Pertinence Model (Deutsch & Deutsch; Norman): Two stage model in Treisman's attenuation theory was unnecessarily complex and all info could be filtered semantically regardless of its physical characteristics
2. Theory claims that at any instant in time, attention to some piece of info, some message, is determined by 2 factors: Sensory activation & pertinence
3. Proposes we consciously select stimuli only AFTER it is processed for meaning --> Therefore DON't need a filter BC input is fully processed at a sensory level combined with what seems to be pertinent at the moment.
4. In Norman's model, info in long-term memory is acted on by a pertinence mechanism - the momemtary importance of info whether caused by permanent or tansitory factors.
--> Activates items which are relevant to either the person or the context.
5. Info which receives (a) the highest total excitation from the sensory input and (b) the highest pertinence mechanism reaches consciousness and is eselected for further processing.
6. Selective attention limits teh number of items that can be responded to, but does not limit stimulus recognition.

Response-Selection Theory (Late Filter Theory) (Diagram)


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