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Information About Attention


Taking posession of the mind to focus, concentration, or withdrawal from a stimulus

Attention is not unitary & its can be active or passive

Focused Attention

focusing on one channel of stimuli, while ignore other channels of stimuli

2 Theories of Focused Auditory Attention

1) All auditory stimuli based through the filter

2) Stimuli enter one channel at a time based on special physical characteristics, while other channels are blocked, Other stimuli are stored in a sensory buffer for later processing

2 More Theories of Focused Auditory Attention

3) All stimuli have a chance to enter the filter. Some readily enters based on a hierachy of characteristics. Other stimuli may have a reduced entry

4) Our capacity for attention is limited by
a) number of units of stimuli
b) the complexity of the stimuli

Too complex, too exhausted, easily distracted
Too few, not overloaded, easily distracted

Two Networks of Focused Visual Attention

1) Dorsal Attention Network
2) Ventral Attention Network

Dorsal Attention Network

1) Requires control & effort
2) Involves top-down processing
3) Limited to Attentional Capacity
4) Bilateral Front part of Frontoparietal Lobe

Ex: Studying

Ventral Attention Network

1) Occurs Automatic (Disengage, Shift, Engage)
2) Involves bottom-up processing
3) No limit to Attentional Capacity
4) Lateral only (right side) Back part of Frontoparietal lobe

Ex: Hi & Keep it Moving

Neglect Syndrome

A disorder of visual attention in that there is a lack of awareness of stimuli presented to contralateral side of the damaged brain area

Usually the right side of the brain is damaged & the left visual field is neglected

Balint's Syndrome

A disorder of visual attention in that the person experiences difficulty shifting attention


A disorder of visual attention in that a person fails to detect one stimulus presented to the visual field, but when presented in other visual field (left), the person detects the stimulus.

Usually the left visual field is unaffected


A disorder of visual attention in that the person can only see one object at a time

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A disorder of visual attention in that there are inconsistencies in attention. Some types of attention are intact, while other are not. Sometimes depends on one's interest

Divided Attention

focusing on multiple channels of stimuli simultaneusly

Central Capacity

We have limited capacity and resources for attention

The ability to perform two simulataneous tasks depends on the demand the tasks have on attentional resources

Multiple Resources

There are three stages of processing attention
1) Encoding--perceptual processing of stimuli
2) Processing--coding the perceptual information
3) Responding--Producing an output based on info

If two tasks are perceptually dissimilar then performance of the tasks simultaneously is easier than vice versa

Hierarchical Model

Central Executive Control: Controls the attentional capacity

Articulatory-Phonological Loop: Processes auditory /verbal info

Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad: Processes visual/spatial info

Episodic Long Term Component: Allows auditory and visual info to interact

Instancy Theory

Automaticity (fast & effortless) is related to the gradual reduction of attentional resources


Equivalent to memory retrieval of heavily overlearned information (which is fast & effortless)

Action Slips

Failure to attend to highly practiced activities due to stress
Consequently unintended errors in performance occurs

Ex: forgetting keys,packing notebook


Excessive attention


Deficient attention (not enough attention)

Interpretive Bias

the tendency to interpret ambigous information as threatening

Attention Narrowing

Under stressful situations, anxiety levels increase and the scope of one's attention narrows

Yerkes-Dodson's Law

The relationship between performance levels and anxiety levels is shaped as an inverted u.

Optimal performance occurs at moderate levels of anxiety

Too much or too little anxiety yields poor performances

The Effects of Depression On Cognitions

Depression has an effect on memory
Depressed people become absentminded

The Effects of Anxiety on Cognitions

Anxiety has an effect on Attention
Anxiety narrows the scope of attention
If hypervigiliance then excessive attention

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