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Psych 201, Week 6 Notes

by: Shane Ng

Psych 201, Week 6 Notes PSY 201

Marketplace > University of Oregon > PSY 201 > Psych 201 Week 6 Notes
Shane Ng

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Week 6: Attention
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Shane Ng on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY 201 at University of Oregon taught by Sereno in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 16 views.


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Date Created: 02/16/16
Attention Selective Attention Attention: the process by which the mind chooses among the various external stimuli impinging on the senses, allowing only some of these stimuli to be passed along for further processing. Selective attention: Can focus on one source of info while ignoring others Divided attention: Can also monitor (to a certain extent) unattended stimuli and use them as a basis for shifting attention. Select stimuli often by physically (“overtly”) orienting sensory systems to a particular stimulus (e.g. eye movements) but can also “covertly” orient to a stimulus. Overt Orienting - Eye movement recordings when looking at pictures. Covert Orienting - The “no-look” pass in basketball relies on covert orienting Stimulus-driven Capture of attention Stimulus-driven Capture of attention: sometimes stimuli in the environment automatically capture attention (e.g., a loud noise or sudden movement). Goal-directed Selection Goal-directed Selection: voluntarily choose object to attend to. - E.g., cocktail-party effect – can listen to and understand one person’s voice while ignoring all others. Selective Listening Experiments: Shadowing – The participant receives different auditory messages in each ear, but is required to repeat (“shadow”) only one. o Some information from the ignored message can get through (e.g., if your name is spoken). o We can attend to more than one message at a time but not well. – Evidence for Goal-directed (voluntary) attention o Selective Viewing Studies: “Posner Task”  Fixate a point in the center of screen. Flash a light in the periphery. Subjects can react to light flash within 300 msec.  Arrow appears above fixation point, pointing to where the light will flash.  The resulting validly cued response happens more quickly than the un-cued one or an invalidly cued one.  Cue allows subject to attend to the position where the spot will appear thereby facilitating his/her response when the spot does appear.  Evidence that selective attention exists independent of eye movements. – The Cued Target Detection Task Divided Attention - People can also divide their attention and deal with a great deal of high level information concurrently. o Can drive and talk at the same time. - In general, the more the 2 tasks differ, the easier it is to carry them out simultaneously. - Practice improves ability to divide attention o E.g., Perform 2 complex tasks simultaneously: read and comprehend a story plus take dictation. o At first, great interference between tasks. After much practice, can do both well and simultaneously. Some argue that practice does not increase the amount of information to which a person can attend, but rather increases the amount of info that he/she can analyze automatically, with out attention. - Stroop interference Effect o An example of a perceptual skill that has become automatic ( to the point of being obligatory) with practice  Reading. o Name, as rapidly as possible the color of words or patches. o Color words interfere with naming the ink colors. - Cell Phones and Driving o Talking on Cell phones (hands free or not) while driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated due to inattention to the driving task (attention is divided). o Drunk Driving  drive more aggressively o Cell Phone Drive  Slower reactions times + greater chance of getting into an accident. Attention and the Perception of Objects Feature Integration Theory (Treisman’s) - We automatically identify certain “primitive” features in the environment (e.g., color, orientation, shape, motion). - We analyze different features independently of each other. - Identifying an object based on one unique feature is fast. - In contrast, putting together features of an object (e.g., color, shape, etc.) to form a complete percept requires focal attention. Evidence 1. If one object among several objects is made up of a unique feature (e.g., a white “T” amongst black “Ts”), we can find it easily because it “pops out”. 2. In contrast, if an object is made up of a conjunction of features (e.g., a white “T” amongst black “Ts” and white “Ls”), we must use serial visual search to find it – i.e., attend to each object in the display individually until the target object is found. 3. Illusory Conjunctions – If overload subject’s attention (e.g., by briefly flashing a display), get errors in feature combinations. Change Blindness - How do we perceive entire visual scenes? o We have the impression that we have a rich/detailed representation of the world o This seems to be backed up by experiments testing our ability to understand and remember pictures seen for brief periods of time. - Some argue that our internal model of the world is sparse, consisting only of a model of attended information. - Change Blindness: Only detect changes in attended items. o Example: Neisser Experiment: Attend to 3 black-shirted (vs 3 white-shirted) players; woman with white umbrella walks through scene and is not noticed by 80% of subjects. Physiological Basis of Attention What happens in the brain when you select one object or one location in space? - Attention to stimulus properties o Examples of cortical areas modulated by attentional processes o Functional fMRI studies: different regions of cortex are activated by faces vs. places. o Fusiform face area (FFA) o Parahippocampal place area (PPA) Influence of attention on neural responses: - Attention to Space/Location o Response of neuron in parietal cortex to a stimulus in its RF is greater when monkey attends vs does not attend to it. o In attention condition, monkey has to attend to peripheral light stimulus to detect when it dims. Attention can enhance the processing of (and neural activity for) a specific type of stimulus or the location of a stimulus.


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