Theories Of Selective Attentio


Kahneman and Treisman (1984, p.55) have succinctly described the main disagreement between early selection and late selection theories of attention: 'The classic question of attention theory has always been whether attention controls the build-up of perceptual information, or merely selects among the responses associated with currently active percepts.' Early selection theories hold that attention serves to select which one of a number of stimuli will be further semantically processed and stored in long term memory. On the other hand, more recent late selection theories maintain that selective attention operates after all stimuli are semantically processed. This essay briefly examines and ...

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this would mean that it has been discarded before it has been processed for meaning. One of the first approaches to this question was attempted by Cherry (1953, in Parkin, 1999) who carried out an experiment in which subjects were required hear two different messages simultaneously, one in each ear, but only pay attention to one of them. To make sure that subjects were not attending to the other message, they were asked to shadow the attended message, that is to recite aloud everything they heard. Subjects could report the physical characteristics of the voice in the unattended message, but not its meaning. Cherry concluded that selective attention completely overshadows the meaning of unattended stimuli. Broadbent's (1958, in Eysenck & Keane, 1995) 'filter' model of attention was based on a similar experiment. Subjects were presented dichotically with pairs of digits and were instructed to shadow whichever message they preferred. A strong preference was shown for attending ...

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and Treisman, 1984) accounted for this finding with the 'attenuator' model, which is still an early selection theory. She proposed that the filter described by Broadbent is actually more flexible and the unattended message can be partly semantically processed. Treisman's attenuation theory was a good alternative to the filter model, as it could explain the new findings. However, it has been criticised for lack of clarity and for being a half-measure. Since subjects' attention appears to be directed according to the meaning of a sentence, one could also claim that they can actually fully process stimuli for meaning before selection.
In the area of visual attention, Johnston and Dark ...

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Added: 9/15/2007 02:24:58 PM
Category: Miscellaneous
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