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Focused Attention

Attending to only one source of information with ignoring other stimuli AKA selective attention

Divided Attention

Focus is on one ore more sources of information AKA multi-tasking

Cocktail Party Problem

The issue of focusing on one conversation at a time when there are lots goign on

Covert Attention

Attention that shifts to a given spatial location in the absence of an eye movement

Zoom Lens Model

Attentional scope is expendable at will

Attentional Spotlight

Attention directed to given region of visual space

Split Attention

Mulitple, non-adjacent spaces/spotlights

Inhibition of Return

Reduced probability of visual attention returning to a previously attended to area

Perceptual Load Theory

Suceptability to distraction increases when task involves low perceptual load and high load on executive control


A disorder of visual attention where stimuli presented to the side opposite the brain damage are undetected


Disorder of visual attention where stimuli prestned to the side opposite the brain dmage is not detected when another stimulus is presented at the same time to the same side as the brain damage

3 Attentional Abilities

Disengagement, Shifting, Engaging

Ventriliquist Illusion

We rely more heavily on vision because the locaiton of environmental events is usually more precisely indicated by vision (Vs. auditory information)

Factors determing dual task performance

Task similarity, task difficulty, practice

Multiple resource theory

similar tasks compete for the same resource and interfere with each other


The finding that brain activation when two tasks are performed together is less than the sum of the brain activation when they are performed seperately

Automatic Processes

unlimited capacity, do not require attention, hard to modify once learned

Instance Theory

Explains automatic processes--obligatory encoding, obligatory retrieval, instance representation, automaticity in a single-step memory retreival

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