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Attention and consciousness


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Cognitive Psychology: Attention and Consciousness

Cognitive Psychology: Attention and Consciousness

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  • 2. ATTENTION AND CONSCIOUSNESS • What is Attention and Consciousness • The Nature of Attention & Consciousness: Processing information (preconscious, controlled and automatic) • Habituation • Focused and divided attention, signal detection • Problems of attention
  • 3. TASKS • What am I wearing? • Last conversation you had? • Is the room hot or cold? • Who are you seated beside/ in front of?
  • 4. WHAT IS ATTENTION? • Attention is the means by which we actively process a limited amount of information from the enormous amount of information available through our senses, our stored memories, and our other cognitive processes (De Weerd, 2003a; Rao, 2003) • how we actively process specific information present in our environment
  • 5. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ATTENTION? • Attention allows you to "tune out" information, sensations and perceptions that are not necessarily relevant at that moment but instead focus your energy on the information that is important.
  • 7. WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS? • the feeling of awareness and the content of awareness, some of which may be under the focus of attention • your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations and environment. • Role of Consciousness • First, it helps in monitoring our interactions with the environment. Through this we maintain our awareness of how well we are adapting to the situation • Second, it assists us in linking our past (memories) andour present (sensations) to give us a sense of continuity of experience. • Third, it helps us in controlling and planning for our future actions • Example: Shuttle service
  • 9. PRECONSCIOUS PROCESSING • Information that is available for cognitive processing but that currently lies outside of conscious awareness exists at the preconscious level of awareness. • In Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the preconscious mind is a part of the mind that corresponds to ordinary memory. These memories are not conscious, but we can retrieve them to conscious awareness at any time. • It includes stored memories • For eg. If asked to spontaneously describe our bedrooms, though we may not be in the exact environment or thinking of the room at the exact time, we can easily describe how it looks and its contents.
  • 10. PRIMING • For e.g. if a person reads a list of words including the word candy, and is later asked to complete a word starting with can, the probability that he or she will answer candy is greater than if they are not primed.
  • 11. PROBLEMS WITH PULLING PRECONSCIOUS INFO Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon • • We try to remember something that is known to be stored in memory but that cannot quite be readily retrieved People who can not come up with the word, but who thought they knew it, could identify the first letter, indicate the number of syllables, or approximate the word’s sounds • It is found in every culture, language and among multi-lingual, bilingual and monolingual persons. .
  • 12. PROCESSING INFORMATION: CONTROLLED AND AUTOMATIC • Automatic processes like writing your name need no conscious control. They may be performed without conscious awareness, but you may be aware that you are performing them. *parallel processes: multiple automatic processes occur at once eg reading while sharpening a pencil • Controlled processes are accessible to conscious control and even require it. *Doing a math equation
  • 13. THE NATURE OF ATTENTION AND CONSCIOUSNESS Controlled Versus Automatic Processes • Controlled processes • Require intentional effort; full conscious awareness; consume many attentional resources; performed serially; relatively slow • Automatic Processes • Little or no intention or effort; occur outside of conscious awareness; do not require a lot of attention, performed by parallel processing; fast
  • 14. HABITUATION • Habituation • We become accustomed to a stimulus, we gradually notice it less and less (e.g. listening to music while studying) • Dishabituation • A change in a familiar stimulus prompts us to start noticing the stimulus again *Both processes occur automatically and require no conscious effort.
  • 15. VIGILANCE AND SIGNAL DETECTION • We vigilantly try to detect whether we did or did not sense a signal (a particular target stimulus of interest) • Vigilance • A person’s ability to attend to a field of stimulation over a prolonged period, during which the person seeks to detect the appearance of a particular target stimulus of interest • Example – (Mackworth, 1948) • Participants were watching when a clock hand took a double step • Substantial deterioration after half an hour of observation • Vigilance can be increased with training • Paying attention over a long period of time to see a stimuli at any given time • Lifeguard, navy, teachers, prison wardens, students,
  • 16. • Signal Detection Theory Selecting particular stimuli from unnecessary ones Task- indicate when you see a pigeon Outcomes 1.Hits/ true positives- accurately identifying the target stimuli (a pigeon) 2.False alarms /false positives- indicating the target when it isn’t there (thinking you’ve seen a pigeon but it’s a crow) 3. Misses /false negatives- not noticing the target (you didn’t see the pigeon) 4.Correct rejections/true negatives- correctly identifying the absence of a target (there is a crow but not a pigeon
  • 18. SEARCH • Scanning the environment for particular features • Whereas vigilance involves passively waiting for a signal stimulus to appear, search involves actively seeking out the target • actively looking for something when you are not sure where it will appear. Example: Rummaging through your room looking for a particular book/shoes/clothes when it is particularly messy • Distracters • Non-target stimuli that divert our attention away from the target stimuli *Distracters- objects that are similar to what we are searching for which then gives you false hope or causes false alarm
  • 19. FEATURE SEARCH • Searching for an object or target with a specific feature Say you were an assassin sent to kill someone in a suit on wall street. Everyone on wall street wears a suit. Your target has specific features such as he is partially bald, has a limp and carries a weathered, brown briefcase. • Eg. Find the Capital ‘D’ OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOODOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
  • 21. BOTTLENECK / FILTER THEORIES • Feature Integration Theory (Treisman 1986) Whenever we have previously identified a stimulus or target by a specific feature we encode that to memory and whenever we want to locate it we receive the feature of the stimulus or target from memory. • Similarity Theory The more the stimulus and distracter have in common the harder it is to accurately point out what it is that you are looking for. • Guided Search Theory 1.Finding targets that have similar elements to what you are looking for 2.Eliminating those that do not fit the criteria of wat you are looking for
  • 22. SELECTIVE ATTENTION AND VISION • Demonstrates the psychological difficulty in selectively attending to the color of the ink and trying to ignore the word that is printed with the ink of that color • Since reading is an automatic process (not readily subject to your conscious control) you find it difficult intentionally to refrain from reading and instead to concentrate on identifying the color of the ink Stroop task (1935) 1.Reading is an automatic process 2.Colour naming is a controlled process 3.Our automatic process of reading interferes with our ability to selectively attend to colour naming
  • 23. Read through this list of color names as quickly as possible. Read from right to left across each line Red Yellow Blue Green Blue Red Green Yellow Yellow Green Red Blue
  • 24. Name as quickly as possible the color of ink in which each word is printed. Name from left to right across each line. Red Yellow Blue Blue Green Yellow Red Blue Green Yellow Green Red
  • 25. • In lectures SELECTIVE ATTENTION & HEARING 1. Sir is lecturing but your friend is speaking to you. You may choose to listen to sir and take notes or listen to your friend and decide to read on the topic covered in lecture. 2. You have one ear phone in and your friend brings some gossip, you could disregard the music playing to the point it becomes background music. Or you may especially like the song playing and choose to focus on it. *Cocktail party effect- You are engaged in a rather interesting conversation but you hear your name and immediately try to find the source of the speaker.
  • 26. BROADBENT’S MODEL OF EARLY SELECTION • Depending on the physical characteristics of messages (pitch, tone, etc) are used to select one message for further processing and all others are lost Watching television and baby starts to wail. Chances are you are going to focus on the baby as their pitch is going to be louder than the television.
  • 27. TREISMAN’S MODEL OF ATTENUATION • physical characteristics are used to select one message for full processing and other messages are given partial processing • Using example of lectures. If your friend is louder than lecturer then you will be more focused on what they are saying than the lecturer
  • 28. DEUTSCH & DEUTSCH ON LATE FILTERING • all messages get through, but that only one response can be made (late selection) Example of listening to music and friend is gossiping. You may be listening to both however you will possibly respond to your friend later after your mind has sorted between the music and what your friend has said.
  • 29. DIVIDED ATTENTION/ DUAL PROCESSING • trying to attend to two stimuli at once and making multiple responses rather than making one response to multiple stimuli (interference) • Multi-tasking • It is easier to multitask when the activities do not require much focus rewriting notes & listening music, watching a movie and cleaning, Exercising and reading. • The task becomes difficult when both activities require that a good amount of your attention is focused on the activities, cooking and doing laundry, taking care of a younger sibling and doing homework
  • 30. THEORIES • We have a single pool of resources that can be adequately distributed to all our activities • It is easier to divide resources to tasks tat use different sensory processing visual and verbal vs verbal and verbal activities • We have multiple resources to our advantage that can be used for our variety of activities
  • 31. PROBLEMS OF ATTENTION • When individuals have problems:• Focusing • Sustaining • Encoding • Shifting
  • 32. SPATIAL NEGLECT • Spatial neglect (Martha Farah) • Patients ignore half of their visual field • Attention deficits have been linked to lesions in: The frontal lobe; The basal ganglia • inability to report, respond, or orient to stimuli, generally in the contralesional space.
  • 33. CHANGE BLINDNESS • the inability to detect changes in objects or scenes that are being viewed
  • 34. IN-ATTENTIONAL BLINDNESS • people are not able to see things that are actually there
  • 35. ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) • Characterised by inattention, hyperactivity & impulsiveness. There are three main types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are predominant: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, & hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behaviour