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-the process by which the mind chooses from among the various stimuli that strike the senses at any given moment

- Highlighter, spotlight, focus

-Attention allows you to "tune out" information, sensations, and perceptions that are not relevant at the moment and instead focus your energy on the information that's important

-the process by which we pick what we are going to focus on


voluntary attention

-goal driven
-top down
-picking what we going to pay attention to


reflexive attention


-something that grabs attention automatically


overt attention

-what we are talking about here

-choosing to pay attention to something completely


covert attention

Ex: reading a book, hear convo behind us, act like we are reading but we are also hearing the convo


What is change blindness?

-an example of inattention blindness - you can't remember something unless you pay attention to it

- Illustrates the limited capacity of our attentional system


change blindness....What does it tell us about attention?

-extremely limited in capacity


Describe Broadbent’s Early Selection theory ....problems .

-sensory information coming in---> goes through selective filter and only the attended information moves to higher perceptual levels ---> process it ---> response

-information we are not paying attention doesn't get process

-problem: we know sometimes important unattended information (like our name) is processed

ex: cocktail party effect


Deutsch and Deutsch late selection model

-take a lot of info coming in through our sensory systems---> moves up chain of perceptual processing--->at some point late in this process unimportant info is filter out --> response

-Problem: wasteful and time-consuming for our efficient brains to assign meaning to all those unattended stimuli

-why would brains take in all sensory info, process it, then get rid of it = doesn't make sense


Treisman's attenuation theory

sensory info coming in---> goes through attenuator (info we paying attention in goes through, info we not paying attention to gets unattended/weaken --- >travel to higher levels of processing - --> memory


cocktail party effect

-a partygoer can focus on a single conversation in a noisy room

-When you are at a party having a conversation with someone
-You are attending to that person and ignoring all the other conversations around you

-But you can covertly attend to other conversations

However, can you hear it if someone other than those you're attending to says your name?

-yes attention shifts to our name


Describe the dichotic listening task. What does it tell us about divided attention?

-Subjects asked to wear headphones and attend to one ear and repeat what they hear

-Most of the time, participants cannot report what they hear in the unattended ear
But can report some low-level details like the gender of the speaker in the unattended ear


the dichotic listening task...what theory does it support

early selection model


Describe the symptoms of neglect and typical location of the lesion. What sort of tasks do these patients perform poorly on?

-right parietal lesion

-symptoms: patients ignore one side of space (left)

-right side lesion = causes more deficits b/c involved in global processing

-line bisection tests


Balint's syndrome

-Severe disturbance of visual attention and awareness

- bilateral damage to posterior parietal and occipital cortex

-difficulty in fixating the eyes

-ex: cross spoon and comb = will only say one

-deficit in separating objects, can only see one object at a time


Describe neuroscience findings associated with ADHD.

-A neurodevelopmental disorder associated with problems paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior which is not appropriate for a person's age

- Possible causes include Genetics (Dopamine receptor gene) and Environment (Exposure to teratogens)

- Reduction in size of prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex (cortical thinning)

-Treatments include behavioral therapy and stimulant drugs like Ritalin (dopamine reuptake inhibitor)


Describe Posner’s spatial cueing paradigm

- A participant sits in front of a computer screen, fixated on the cross

-An arrow cue indicates which visual hemifield the participant should covertly attend to

-Participants respond faster on valid trials demonstrating the benefits of attention

-Participants respond more slowly on invalid trials demonstrating the costs of attention


Posner’s spatial cueing paradigm. ... What does it tell us about attention

attention modulates activity of visual areas


Posner's spatial cueing paradigm... Where is activity in the brain associated with this task? Which theory does this support?

-LGN of the thalamus and visual cortical areas

-early selection model


Describe brain regions involved in attention.

-Frontal: maintaining vigilance

-Parietal (posterior): orienting in space

- Frontoparietal network: reorienting attention

-Thalamic: reflexive attention and attentional filtering

-Superior Colliculi: saccadic eye movements


Does attention influence perception? Describe a study that demonstrates this.




How does the visual system process visual search?

-The visual system can process elementary features such as color, shape and motion in parallel, but requires spatial attention to bind the features that define an object

-i.e. A conjunction search (conjunction of features shared with distractors) takes longer than a pop- out search