Cognitive Psychology Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Paying Attention
Selective attention – usually focus our attention on one or a few tasks or events at any given time Extensive practice tasks becoming so easy and effortless performing them requires no attn. – automatic Attention is freed up for a person to do another task simultaneously with the automatic one – divided attention Find your keys on your desk

Spatial attention – attn. can be focused on objects and events of interest in our enviro in order to aid in our ability to recognize them amongst other events and objects Selective Attention
The term selective attention refers to the fact that we usually focus our attention on one or a few things or events rather than on many We process info differently depending on whether or not we have been actively focusing on a stimulus Simply instructing to not pay attn. is almost guaranteed to have the opposite effect Dichotic listening task – a person listens to an audiotape over a set of headphones. Different messages as to be heard simultaneously in opposite ears. Participants are played two or more different messages and asked to “shadow” (repeat aloud) one of them At end asked what info they remember from either msg

Sometimes both messages are heard from both ears – binaural presentation Rate of presentation of info is so fast the shadowing task is difficult and requires a great deal of mental resources Fewer resources are available to process info from the nonshadowed, unattended message Cherry demonstrated ppl can shadow a msg spoken at normal to rapid rate Could nearly always report accurately whether the message contained speech or noise and whether the voice was a man or woman Unattended msg played backwards, noticed that some aspect of the msg was odd One variation, language of the unattended msg was changed from English to German participants did not notice the switch Heard prose in the attended message and a short list of simple words in unattended. Failed to recognize occurance of most words in the unattended even though the words has been repeated 35 times! Filter Theory

Broadbent proposed the filter theory – there are limits on how much info a person can attend to at any given time Attentional filter to let some info through and block the rest Filter is based on physical aspect of the attended msg

Only material that gets past the filter can be analyzed later for meaning Attentional filter is set to make a selection of what msg to process early According to Broadbent’s model, it should not be possible to recall any of the meaning of an unattended msg Two msgs that contain little info or present info slowly, can be processed simultaneously. Attend simultaneously to more than one msg if one repeats the same word over and over because it would contain little info Filter protects us from “info overload” shutting out msgs when we hear too much info to process all at once Moray cocktail party effect: Shadowing performance is disrupted when one’s own name is embedded in either the attended or the unattended msg – remembers hearing his name Concluded that only “important” material can penetrate the filter set up to block unattended Alternative explanation for the name recognition finding is that the shadowing task does not always take 100% of one’s attn. Attn. occasionally lapses and shifts to unattended msg. During these lapses, name recognition occurs Treisman against cocktail party

Played two distinct msgs each presented to a diff ear. Shadow one of them. In the middle of the msg, content of the first and second was switched so that the second continued the story-line of the first and vice versa. Immediately after, the two messages “switched ears” many participants repeated one or two words from the “unattended ear” Reasoned that participants must be basing their selection of which msg to attend to at least in part on the meaning of the message Most had no idea that the passages had been switched

Wood and Cowan
Two groups shadowed an excerpt of a...
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