The Effect Of Automatic Processing

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Anna Braim TMA03 A8807858
The effect automatic processing has in decision making that is underneath the conscious; using colour identification task from the Stroop effect. Abstract
The experiment is using 20 participants and is employing a within-participant design. The experiment will consist of two condition, one that is consistent with the Stoop effect, using colour related words, and condition 2 consisting of neutral coloured words. The experiment will indicate whether the participant’s response has been affected by a conflict of difference. The phenomena known as ‘The Stroop Effect’ theorize that automatic process interfere with controlled process. The results of the experiment show a significant difference in response time of the colour words than the colour neutral words, the results support Stroops theory. Introduction

Attention is a cognitive process that selects sensory information and processes it, however due to infinite information being available how do we process it all. A study conducted by Simons and Levin (as citied in Edgar, 2007) named ‘change blindness’, is an experiment set up to show how people’s cognitive process can overlook something as obvious as personal identity in present demand. Kahnemen (as citied in Edgar, 2007) theory of attention is described as a ‘mental effort’ and that life demands are sensed and allocated accordingly to where the memory is already held in the brain. Reason for only limited resources being process is due to theory that we have a ‘Limited-capacity central processor’, he believes task that are learnt, for example reading, require less metal effort and become automatic process rather than control process. However, Broadbent (as citied in Edgar, 2007) theories of attention is that most incoming sensory is not a conscious level, and that there is an early filter in our system, which he describes as a ‘Bottleneck’, this allows only one task to be attended to at a time. He experiment to prove this theory was that participants wore headphones and where presented with numbers to both ears simultaneously, he demonstrated that participants could alternate attention as his findings concluded that numbers from one ear were recalled far greater than the other, supporting his theory.

Schneider and Shiffrin (as citied in Edgar, 2007) demonstrated with experiments the difference between controlled process and automatic process, their theory was that controlled process make heavy, slow and conscious demands, whereby automatic control are unconscious reactions and make little demand and allow us to multi-task. The development led to the ‘two process theories’ the suggestion that there is a balance between controlled and automatic process, and what takes your attention depends on the situation. Stroop (as cities in Edgar, 2007) created an experiment that demonstrated a relationship between automatic and controlled process, this phenomenon is known as the ‘Stroop effect’, it entails participants being presented with two lists of words, one containing coloured names that are written in conflicting colours (e.g. yellow written green), in the other list the words the colours are the same however he used colour neutral words (e.g. bolt). The results, were participants took longer to complete the colour word list, these findings suggest that the automatic process of reading can cause conflict with the controlled process of identifying the colour. The stroop test provides insight that automatic process can interfere with control process; the downside is that once automatic process is learnt how do we modify it when our conscious does not even acknowledge we are using the process. The ability to override your automatic process with your controlled processing is possible, although, how much longer does it take to produce information from controlled conscious when interference from automatic processing plays a part. The aim of the task is to find out if there is a statistically significance...
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