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Chapter 4: Attention and Consciousness

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1 Chapter 4: Attention and Consciousness

2 Some Questions of Interest
Can we actively process information, even if we are not aware of doing so? If so, what do we do, and how do we do it? What are some of the functions of attention?

3 Some Questions of Interest
What are some theories cognitive psychologists have developed to explain attentional processes? What have cognitive psychologists learned about attention by studying the human brain?

4 Attention Is… The means by which we actively process a limited amount of information INSERT FIG 4.1

5 Main Functions of Attention
Signal detection and vigilance Search Selective attention Divided attention

6 Signal Detection Theory (SDT)
Measure sensitivity to a target’s presence Signal Present Absent Hit False Alarm Miss Correct Rejection Explain this theory using an example: Radar detection, shower and phone ringing, fire truck visibility (color as a property of signal detection), driver vigilance and fatigue, detecting cancer through self-examinations. Also discuss how changing sensitivity criterion can influence number of hits or false alarms. Decision

7 Vigilance and SDT Vigilance is attending to a set of stimuli over a length of time in order to detect a target signal Vigilance decreases rapidly over time (fatigue), thus misses and false alarms increase Using examples discuss how vigilance is important to maintain.

8 Search Actively searching for a target
Number of targets and distracters influence accuracy Feature search versus conjunctive search Define basics of searching. Explain the difference between conjunctive search versus feature search, the following slides will provide a demonstration. Feature search: environment is scanned for one particular feature. Conjunction search: a combination of features is scanned for.

9 Conjunctive Search Find the letter T Which panel is easier?

10 Feature Search Find the letter O
Easier or harder than the previous one? INSERT FIG 4.3 (a)

11 Feature-Integration Theory (FIT)
Individual feature processing is done in parallel Simultaneous processing is done on the whole display and if feature is present, we detect it Conjunctive searching requires attention to the integration or combination of the features Attention to particular combination of features must be done sequentially to detect presence of a certain combination Explain parallel processing means all at once. Describe how sequential processing is different.

12 Another Feature Search
Is there a red T in the display? T T T T T T T T Target is defined by a single feature According to feature integration theory, the target should “pop out” No attention required T T T T T T T T T

13 Another Conjunction Search
Is there a red T in the display? X T X T Target is defined by two features: shape and color According to FIT, the features must be combined and so attention is required Need to examine one by one X T T X X T X X T T T

14 Similarity Theory Similarity between targets and distracters is important, not number of features to be combined More shared features = more difficult to detect a target Find the letter R INSERT FIG 4.5

15 Guided Search Cave & Wolf (1990) All searches have two phases
Parallel phase Serial stage

16 Selectivity of Attention
Cocktail party phenomenon How are we able to follow one conversation in the presence of other conversations?

17 Cherry’s Shadowing Technique
Cherry’s Shadowing Technique Attended Ear: Unattended Ear: The doctor went to the park to find the homeless man. He was The lawyer defended his client as the trial began. He was able …..The doctor went to the park….. Explain difference between Binaural and Dichotic. Listen to two different conversations and repeat one of the messages; may be binaural or dichotic

18 Cherry’s Results Noticed in unattended ear
Cherry’s Results Noticed in unattended ear Change in gender Change to a tone Did not notice in unattended ear Changed language Changed topic, same speaker If speech was played backwards

19 Models of Selective Attention
Models of Selective Attention Do they have a filter? Where does the filter occur?

20 Broadbent’s Model We filter information right after we notice it at the sensory level INSERT FIG 4.9, top half. Explain how Broadbent’s model explains Cherry’s data.

21 Broadbent’s Model Had trouble explaining
Broadbent’s Model Had trouble explaining Why participant’s name gets through Why participants can shadow meaningful message that switches from one ear to another Effects of practice on detecting information in unattended ear (e.g., detect digit in unattended ear for naïve and practiced participants)

22 Treisman’s Attenuation Model
Treisman’s Attenuation Model Instead of blocking stimuli out, the filter weakens the strength of stimuli other than the target stimulus INSERT FIG 4.9, top half. Explain how Treisman can now account for additional findings. Yellow arrow indicates information is being attended and the filter makes this strong, the pumpkin colored arrow is less strong and the orange arrow is made the weakest. The message of the pumpkin colored arrow may still get through due to the lower threshold (closer to the arrow).

23 Late Selection Theory (Deutsch & Deutsch, 1963)
Late Selection Theory (Deutsch & Deutsch, 1963) All stimuli is processed to the level of meaning Relevance determines further processing and action INSERT FIG 4.10 Pertinence = task demands and personal importance.

24 Neisser’s Synthesis Preattentive processes Attentive processes
Parallel Note physical characteristics Attentive processes Controlled processes occur serially Occur in working memory

25 Divided Attention How many tasks can you do at once?
e.g., driving and talking, radio, phone...

26 Dual-Task Paradigm Task 1 may require a verbal response to an auditory stimulus Task 2 may require a participant to push a button in response to a visual stimulus Results indicate that responses to the second task are delayed

27 Capacity Models of Attention
INSERT FIG 4.11 Explain the basic concept of attentional resource theory. Capacity theories: limited amount of resources available to conduct tasks (Kahneman, 1973), or individual pools for each modality (Navon & Gopher, 1979) Attentional resources may involve either a single pool or a multiplicity of modality-specific pools. Although the attentional resources theory has been criticized for its imprecision, it seems to complement filter theories in explaining some aspects of attention.

28 Real-Life Dual Task Driving and
Cell phones Adjusting music Watching the scenery Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds of the event

29 Gauging Your Distraction During Driving

30 Strayer & Drews (2007) Naturalistic observation of cell phone use and driver behavior Failed to stop Stopped properly On cell phone 82 28 No cell phone 352 1286 Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. (In Press). Multi-tasking in the automobile. To appear in A. Kramer, D. Wiegmann, & A. Kirlik (Eds.) Applied Attention: From Theory to Practice

31 Strayer & Drews (2007) Results
Impact of hands-free cell-phone conversations on simulated driving Cell-phone conversation led to inattentional blindness Even if they looked at an object, participant did not remember the object

32 Factors that Influence Our Ability to Pay Attention
Anxiety Arousal Task difficulty Skills

33 Three Subfunctions of Attention
Three Subfunctions of Attention Alerting Being prepared to attend to some incoming event and maintaining this attention Involves right frontal and parietal cortexes as well as the locus coeruleus

34 Three Subfunctions of Attention
Three Subfunctions of Attention Orienting The selection of stimuli to attend to Needed when we perform a visual search Involves the superior parietal lobe, the temporal parietal junction, the frontal eye fields, and the superior colliculus

35 Three Subfunctions of Attention
Three Subfunctions of Attention Executive attention Processes for monitoring and resolving conflicts that arise among internal processes Involves the anterior cingulate, lateral ventral, and prefrontal cortex as well as the basal ganglia

36 When Attention Fails Us
ADHD Change blindness and inattentional blindness Spatial neglect

37 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms Inattention Hyperactivity Impulsivity Not everyone who is overly hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive has ADHD Behavior must be demonstrated to a degree that is inappropriate for the person’s age National Institute of Mental Health Cited in text as information on ADHD.

38 Change Blindness An inability to detect changes in objects or scenes that are being viewed

39 Inattentional Blindness
Inattentional Blindness People are not able to see things that are actually there See Simons (2010)

40 Spatial Neglect Lesion on one side of brain causes person to ignore half of their visual field INSERT FIG 4.14

41 Habituation Decrease in responsiveness when exposed to a repeated stimulus People who smoke do not notice the smell of cigarettes on their clothes, but nonsmokers do People get used to hearing the chiming of their clocks

42 Change in familiar stimuli causes one to notice it again
Dishabituation Change in familiar stimuli causes one to notice it again Smokers who quit suddenly notice how much their clothes smell of smoke If clock breaks, owner suddenly notices the clock isn’t chiming

43 Habituation/Dishabituation Paradigm
Allows psychologists to test abilities of infants and animals Measure subject’s arousal to see if a change occurs when pattern or sound changes If animal or infant dishabituates to a change, they can detect the change If the animal or infant does not dishabituate to a change in stimuli, they did not detect the change Powerful paradigm allows us to detect abilities of different species and infants since we can measure their arousal to different stimuli to detect whether they notice.

44 Controlled vs. Automatic Processing
Requires no conscious control Controlled processing Requires conscious control

45 Is Typing Automatic or Controlled for You?
Do you type without thinking where your fingers are? Are you a search-and-peck typer? If you do type without using attention, what happens when you think about the letters as you are typing them? Discuss how skills begin as controlled and may become automatic over time. Discuss how when you are more likely to make an error when you think about an automatic process. Have you ever tried to teach someone how to do something you know very well, but have difficulty breaking it down into steps because you do it so automatically?


47 Automatization: Two Explanations
Integrated components theory: Anderson Practice leads to integration; less and less attention is needed Instance theory: Logan Retrieve from memory specific answers, skipping the procedure; thus less attention is needed

48 Effect of Practice on Automatization
Negative- acceleration curve INSERT FIG 4.15 Explain how the impact of practice leads to a negatively accelerated curve. Figure 4.15: The rate of improvement caused by practice effects shows a pattern of negative acceleration. The negative acceleration curve attributed to practice effects is similar to the curve shown here, indicating that the rate of learning slows down as the amount of learning increases, until eventually learning peaks at a stable level. Rate of learning slows as amount of learning increases

49 Stroop Effect Say the color the words are printed in as quickly as you can What errors do you make? Reading interferes with your ability to state the color, and your reaction time is slower red yellow green blue red blue yellow green blue red Just click the mouse once and the Stroop words will appear at a gradual pace. What errors do you make? Discuss how it is interference. What do you think would happen… If you tried this experiment with a very small child who had not yet learned to read? If you tried this experiment with someone who was just learning to speak English? If you used the same order of ink colors but wrote non-color words?

50 Preconscious Processing
Information that is available for cognitive processing but that currently lies outside conscious awareness Priming TOT phenomenon Blindsight

51 Priming How quickly do you process the second word?
BREAD BUTTER How quickly do you process the second word? Faster if you have been primed with a related word NURSE CAT DOCTOR DOG

52 Marcel (1983) Condition Subliminally Present Prime
Consciously Present Prime Prime PALM Mask XXXX Target PINE OR WRIST Response Body part or plant? Reaction time How fast? Distinguish between the two groups in Marcel’s study. In the subliminally present prime group the word “palm” was presented so briefly that the participants were not able to process the word at a conscious level. In the conscious present prime Group, participants were aware they had seen the word “palm” before being asked about the question (body part or plant? ) about the target word (“pine”).

53 Marcel’s Procedure with Participants
PALM PINE PALM PINE XXXX It’s a plant. Umm, it’s a plant. After you click the mouse once on this slide a demonstration of Marcel’s experimental conditions will occur. Once this slide runs through its demonstration once, you can use the “page up” button to repeat the experience. Have the students first focus on what the orange participant sees, then hit the “page up” button on the keyboard and have them view what the yellow person would see. This will enable the students to better understand the difference between the two conditions. Subliminal Condition Conscious Condition

54 Marcel (1983) Results Condition Subliminally Present Prime
Consciously Present Targets: PINE or WRIST Found faster RT for both target words Found faster RT for one of two target words, slower RT for the other target Interpretation Both meanings were primed Only one meaning is primed, the other inhibited Discuss importance of findings for preconscious processing. If the participant was consciously aware of seeing the word “PALM”, only one mental pathway was activated: the other pathway was inhibited.

55 Priming Can Speed or Slow Processing
Facilitative priming Target stimuli (e.g., BUTTER) are processed faster if preceded by a related word (e.g., BREAD) Negative priming effect Target stimuli (e.g., PINE) is processed slower if preceded by a word related to target’s alternate meaning (PALM relating to hand)

56 Bowers, Regehr, Balthazard, & Parker (1990)
Bowers, Regehr, Balthazard, & Parker (1990) Triad A Triad B Basket Swan Room Army Foot Mask BALL Answer: Triad A is coherent 4th word is ball Which of these triads is coherent? What is the 4th word that ties them together?

57 Bowers et al. (1990) Results Even if participants could not generate the 4th word, they still selected the coherent triad Results demonstrate preconscious processing

58 Tip-of-the-Tongue Experiences (TOT)
Tip-of-the-Tongue Experiences (TOT) You know you know the word, but you cannot fully retrieve the word Paradigms used to generate TOT Show pictures of famous people or politicians and have participants name them Ask general knowledge questions to generate TOTs

59 TOT Demonstration What is the name of Dagwood Bumstead’s dog?
Who wrote Paradise Lost? What is a wheeled hospital cart called? Do any of these questions put the answer on the tip of your tongue? Answers: Daisy, Milton, Gurney In experiments using these types of materials, people who are put in the tip-of-the tongue states can often recall the first letter of the answer even though they cannot retrieve the entire word. They can also tell how many syllables are present and a “sound” of the word.

60 Blindsight Person cannot consciously see a certain portion of their visual field but still behave in some instances as if they can see it Being aware of doing something is distinguishable from doing something

61 INSERT VIDEO #23, Visual Mind Reading
Using fMRI to predict what people are paying attention to INSERT VIDEO #23, Visual Mind Reading INSERT VIDEO #23, Visual Mind Reading

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