A Feature Integration Theory of Attention - Essay Example

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Attention plays an important role in the life of an individual. It can be described as a cognitive method of concentrating on one feature while ignoring the others.Nowadays this topic is being widely studied through out and more researches are being done …
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A Feature Integration Theory of Attention
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To describe Treisman, A. M., & Gelade, G. (1980). A feature integration theory of attention. Cognitive Psychology, 12, 97-136. Attention plays animportant role in the life of an individual. It can be described as a cognitive method of concentrating on one feature while ignoring the others. Nowadays this topic is being widely studied through out and more researches are being done to find out the exact description and the purpose of attention. Similarly one article named "A feature integration theory of attention" tells some facts about attention. This paper would further analyze this article in depth and would present considerable data to understand the theory of attention.
This research done by Treisman & Gelade was done to figure out the role of attention in the process of viewing an object. In this article Treisman clearly illustrates that in the process of visualization the aspects of the environment are recorded first and then the objects. These objects are only seen once when attention is focused on them. According to the research divisible dimensions would rejoin together to form a perfect visual scene. All these dimensions are rejoined through the process of individual attention. It tells that attention is needed for everything to be determined whether it be the direction of an object, the exact color of an object or the exact position of the object. It further tells that if an object is not particularly attended to then illusory conjunctions may arise (Treisman 1977). To confirm the effect of attention on different objects and features experiments were carried out by Treisman. These experiments were conducted with differing display sizes, color and shapes of objects. They were done to figure out the relation between color, display sizes and shapes of an object with attention. It would further clarify if attention really did play a part in figuring out one aspect. Similarly in the experiments conducted the subjects were shown some objects with differing characteristics and were further asked to recognize these differing characteristics. The time lapse which the subjects were given to view a particular object varied to calculate if the subjects attention really mattered or not. These experiments conducted clearly illustrated that there was a relation between the display sizes of the objects and the time granted to the subjects to review these objects. This is because the more time the subjects were granted the more they were able to give attention to the object and figure out its aspects. More time is required by the subjects due to the fact that the colors and shapes are close and hence they require time to put in more attention to realize what color or shape the object is of. All these experiments conducted provided Treisman & Gelade with the conclusion that attention played a major role in distinguishing the objects. The color and shape of an object could only be determined by an individual if good attention was paid to it. If the attention is diverted or is over loaded by the fact that so many objects were displayed then illusory conjunctions may occur (Treisman et al., 1977).
Thus after analyzing the research paper it can be said that attention plays a major role in distinguishing and figuring out what the objects are. It tells that attention can help in merging the visual features of an object and thus can help in viewing an object properly. If I was a participant in the experiments conducted for this research I would feel obliged as the experiments conducted were a breakthrough in finding out the real purpose of attention. This research would not only allow the researchers to further clarify the role of attention in an individual's life but would also help individuals suffering problems in recognizing objects. Hence the overall conclusion derived from this article is that attention is to be focused on one object to determine the real features of the object.

Treisman AM, & Gelade G. (1980). A feature-integration theory of attention. Cognitive Psychology. 12 (1), 97-136. Read More
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