Flexibility and capacity demands of attention

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Outlines a multimode theory of attention in which attention is assumed to be flexible and target and nontarget information can be differentiated at different depths of perceptual analysis. Target information is selected at the level of sensory analysis by early modes of attention but not until after semantic analysis by late modes. As the perceptual-processing system shifts from early to late modes, it collects more information from nontarget sources but requires more capacity to focus on a target source. Five experiments (229 undergraduate Ss) tested 2 main assumptions: that attention requires capacity and that the amount of capacity required increases from early to late modes. Ss performed a listening task and a subsidiary reaction-time (RT) task at the same time. The listening task required Ss to attend either to a single list or to the target list of 2 or 3 concurrent lists. In one condition, the target and nontarget lists differed in voice (male vs female) but were similar in meaning. This allowed early selection. In another condition, the 2 lists were spoken in the same voice but differed in meaning. This necessitated late selection. The subsidiary RT task required the detection of light signals and was used to measure the amount of capacity devoted to the listening task. Longer RTs implied more capacity expended on listening. Results of all experiments support the multimode theory. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles