04 Cognitive Psychology: Module 8




Scarince, Collin

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Module 8: Theories of Attention Exams are just around the corner, and Perry is buckling down to get some last-minute studying. He opens his laptop while on the couch. It's quiet. I'll probably focus better with a little background noise; he thinks to himself. He turns on the show he is currently binging, then returns to his laptop, plugs a headphone from his computer into his left ear, and pulls up a lecture video. He begins watching the lecture, but after a few minutes he hears something exciting happening in the TV show. He looks up at the TV and watches the action unfold. He then realizes he has no idea what was just said in the lecture video. He tracks back to the last place he remembers listening. He watches the lecture for a few more minutes, but his eyes keep shifting back to the TV show. Wait, what did my professor just say? Then, Perry hears a tone from his cellphone alerting him he has an unread text message. It's from his friend Terry. He reads the message and, once again, realizes he doesn't know what was said in the lecture or what just happened in the show. After 20 minutes of 'studying' Perry realizes he's really only made it five minutes into the lecture video. Why can't Perry pay attention to all of these things at the same time? We use the term “attention” all the time, but what processes or abilities does that concept really refer to? This chapter will focus on how attention allows us to select certain parts of our environment and ignore other parts, and what happens to the ignored information. A key concept is the idea that we are limited in how much we can do at any one time. So, we will also consider what happens when someone tries to do several things at once, such as driving while using electronic devices.



open educational resources, cognitive psychology, attention



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