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Human Attention Notes

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What is meant by the term 'inattention' and how does inattention affect information processing?
What is unilateral neglect? What studies of unilateral neglect told us about human attention?
What evidence suggests that we don't process information about stimuli to which we are not currently attending? A) Studies of attention in healthy people b) neuropsychological studies of patients with visual neglect. Definition of attention and inattention Attention: Process by which certain information is selected, for further processing and other information is discarded. It is important to avoid sensory overload and attention is important in cognition.
-O'regan et al: Role of attention is shown by change blindness o

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-When brief blank fields are placed between alternating displays of an original and a modified scene, identification of changes become extremely difficult even when changes are large and are made repeatedly. Identification is much faster when a verbal cue is provided showing that poor visibility is not the cause of this difficulty . Identification is also faster for objects considered to be important in the scene. These results support the idea that observers never form a complete detailed representation of their surroundings. In addition results show that attention is needed to perceive a change and attention is guided on the basis of high level interest

Evidence there is inattention
-Studies of attention in healthy people Often studied in terms of visual attention- referred to as a spotlight- this highlights a particular location in space (e.g location contains a salient object) where there is a natural tendency for attention and eye fixation to go together because visual acuity- discriminating fine detail is greatest at point of fixation Posner illustrated that attention operates on a spatial basis- participants were presented with three boxes on the screen in different positions; left, central, right- task of the participants was to press a button when they detected a target in one of the boxes

At a brief interval before the onset of the target a cue would appear in one of the locations- the purpose of the cue was to summon attention to that location

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