Emotion Drives Attention

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Following James (1890), researchers have commonly used different types of attention getters whether passive or active distractions (Oman, Flykt, Esteves). Often animals rely on active, goal driven senses to spot and avoid danger. During three separate experiments, there were many observations that were observed in were able to view the same reactions of people no matter how many variables were placed into the experiment. Many people in the world today has a deathly fear of snakes and spiders. In addition, many people do not mind matrices of flowers and mushrooms. Furthermore, during the experiments the researchers also used happy and sad faces and timed the reactions to those. Throughout history, scientists and researchers have been trying to capture how a person may react too many matrices. How the mind reacts to those fears is as different as the individuals themselves. More often people will react more quickly to things that scare them, as opposed to things that do not. In my opinion, the phobias take people back the hunter-gatherer stage of their prehistoric past. Many people would rather avoid seeing a snake or spider, as opposed to, a flower or mushroom. While people are walking outdoors through tall grass, they tend to spend more time while their walking looking for anything that could harm them. Many people will spot dangerous insects or reptiles before the see other objects. Often a person has heightened sensitivity to distinct objects when they see one they will subconsciously scan for more. Many people will allow their emotions to drive the attention once the participant see a spider or snake they are more likely to scan through the matrices more quickly to ensure there is no snakes or spiders present. A person that has...

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.... Overall, the experiments were successful in portraying the human’s primal instinct to be able to spot danger in a relatively small amount of time. The main hypothesis of the experiments was confirmed when the students were able to pick out danger to them just as the cave dweller did thousands of years ago. Generally, the targets that were fear relevant were evident especially when the attention of the student was shifted.

Works Cited

Ohman, A., Flykt, A., & Esteves, F. (2001). Emotion Drives Attention: Detecting the Snake in the Grass. Journal of Experimental Psychology,130(3), 466-478.

American Psychological Association (2001, September 11). Snakes And Spiders Grab Our Attention And Grab It Even Faster If We’re Phobic, A Sign That Perception Evolved.ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 22, 2012, from
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