Selective Attention and Irrelevant Stimuli

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Attention is “taking possession of the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others” (James, 1898). Selective attention is when a person focuses on their conscious awareness on a particular stimulus. The person only attends to one or a few tasks at one time, this is necessary to keep the person from being overloaded with information. One of the main functions of attention is selective hearing, which attends to some stimuli and ignores others. This essay will be focusing on attention, specifically selective attention. In some research that is to do with selective attention, participants are presented with two or more sets of stimuli at the same time. The participants process one set of stimuli while they are ignoring the other stimulus. The amount of processing of the ignored stimuli that happens then provides an indication to how successful attention can be focused on to, that specific stimulus that is important to the experimenter. This essay will be looking into theories that focus on selective stimuli, such as the cocktail party phenomena theory by Cherry (1953), this theory suggests that a person’s ability is to selectively attend to one specific stimulus over others. Broadbent’s filter theory (1958) will also be looked at; this theory suggests that we filter information after sensory registration. Also, Treisman’s attenuation model (1964) which suggests that if a meaningful message is removed from a shadowed to the non-shadowed ear, then the subjects would track the shift of it but will not be aware of it. The essay will be looking at all of these theories, comparing the... ... middle of paper ... ...ant or not. Works Cited Broadbent, D . E. (1958). Perception and communication. London: Pergamon. Cherry, E. C. (1953). Some Experiments on recognition of speech, with one and with two ears. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 25, 975-979. Deutsch, J. A., & Deutsch, D. (1963). Attention: Some theoretical considerations. Psychological Review, 70, 80-90. Johnston, W. A., & Heinz, S. P. (1978). Flexibility and capacity demands of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 107, 420-435. Moray, N. (1969). Attention: Selective Processes in Vision and Hearing. London: Hutchinson. Solso, R. L, Maclin, O. H, & Maclin, M. K. (2008). Cognitive psychology. Boston: Pearson International Edition. Treisman, A. (1964). Monitoring and storage of irrelevant messages in selective attention. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 3, 449-459.
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