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4.1 Introduction

The above account of having attention taken away from the intended target reminds us that, while it may be advantageous from a survival point of view to have attention captured by novel events, these events are actually distractions from the current object of attention. Those who have to work in open-plan offices, or try to study while others watch TV, will know how distracting extraneous material can be. Some try to escape by wearing headphones, hoping that music will be less distracting, bu
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3.5 Summary of Section 3

When consciously perceiving complex material, such as when looking for a particular letter of a particular colour:

  • Perception requires attention.

  • The attention has to be focused upon one item at a time, thus …

  • processing is serial.

  • Some parallel processing may take place, but…

  • it is detected indirectly, such as by the influence of one word upon another.


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3.1 Introduction

The binding of features emerges as being a very significant process when displays are brief, because there is so little time in which to unite them. With normal viewing, such as when you examine the letters and words on this page, it is not obvious to introspection that binding is taking place. However, if, as explained above, it is a necessary precursor to conscious awareness, the process must also occur when we examine long-lived visual displays. Researchers have attempted to demonstrate th
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2.6 Summary of Section 2

The results of the visual attention experiments we have considered can be interpreted as follows.

  • Attention can be directed selectively towards different areas of the visual field, without the need to re-focus.

  • The inability to report much detail from brief, masked visual displays appears to be linked to the need to assemble the various information components.

  • The visual information is captured in parallel, but assemb
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2.5 Masking and attention

Before I summarise the material in this section, and we move on to consider attentional processes with clearly-seen displays, it would be appropriate to consider the relevance of the masking studies to the issue of attention. We began the whole subject by enquiring about the fate of material which was, in principle, available for processing, but happened not to be at the focus of attention. Somehow we have moved into a different enquiry, concerning the fate of material that a participant was
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1.4 Eavesdropping on the unattended message

It was not long before researchers devised more complex ways of testing Broadbent's theory of attention, and it soon became clear that it could not be entirely correct. Even in the absence of formal experiments, common experiences might lead one to question the theory. An oft-cited example is the cocktail party effect. Imagine you are attending a noisy party, but your auditory location system is working wonderfully, enabling you to focus upon one particular conversation. Suddenly, from
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand different cognitive psychological aproaches used to examine such forms of attention as attention to regions of space, attention to objects and attention for action;

  • summarise the different cognitive psychological approaches undera fairly abstract definition of the term;

  • know how ideas about attention have changed and diversified over the last fifty years and how well they have stood up to ex
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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Texts

Section 1.3 Case Study: extracted from Faludy, T. and Faludy, A. (1996) A Little Edge of Darkness, Jessi
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PediNeuroLogic Exam: Introduction: First: Stop, Look, and Listen
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1.2.2 Medical approaches to normality

What did you write for ‘normal’ eyesight? The ability to see clearly without glasses? It is unlikely that you wrote down short- or long-sightedness as an example of ‘normal’ eyesight, even though they are very common. However, they are not seen as ‘normal’ because having to wear glasses is perceived as a limitation or even a form of disability. This relates to one of several so-called ‘medical models’ of normality, which centre on the idea of uniformity of
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Introduction

Dyslexia is a condition affecting literacy skills. This unit analyses how our image of normality affects the way we as a society define such conditions. You will learn how important it is to integrate the different psychological accounts of dyslexia in order to provide a full explanation of potential causes and strategies for remediation.

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