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Divided Attention and Cognitive Psychology - Essay Example

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It is important to remember that in the study of behaviour, we are confronted with a much more complex phenomenon than appears at first glance. For example, take a simple reaction time task, probably the most basal behaviour and at the same time the simplest reaction we can study…
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Divided Attention and Cognitive Psychology
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Download file to see previous pages The subject then has to decide that he or she should react and select the appropriate action programme. The subject must initiate the action and execute it by triggering the specific motor programme. It would be bold to assume that all these stages and processes are controlled by a uniform attentional function. Indeed, in the meantime there is a great deal of evidence that the flux of information processing is controlled by a large number of very specific processes, as will be illustrated in the following. Yet we are still far from having a complete overview of how the different sub functions work, and have not identified all the underlying brain structures and processes involved.
However, the analysis of attentional performance plays a key role in psychological research in general and in neuropsychology in particular. The problem has been approached from different directions: purely experimental research in normal functioning, neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies in animals and humans, neuropsychological studies of brain-injured subjects and, recently, through investigations of attentional processes using neuroimaging techniques.
Besides the fact that it is not easy to measure the degree of difficulty of tasks when these are performed separately, the problem is still more complex when the subject is asked to perform the same tasks, but simultaneously. Several theoretical elaborations have endeavoured to account for the subject's ability to divide, share or allocate his/her attention to two or several tasks performed simultaneously. The two most important are the central capacity theory and the theory of multiple resources, to which, as we shall see, are added other alternative explanations. The notion of capacity or resources of attentional processing plays a determinant role in the understanding of mechanisms allowing the performance of two tasks simultaneously, as well as in the way in which attention can be distributed between sensory, cognitive and motor tasks.
Research in cognition identifies a tendency to focus upon and recall selectively that information which supports original ideas, a reasoning fallacy known as confirmation bids. (Cacioppo, 2000) Belief perseverance, a reasoning fallacy similar to confirmation bias, further complicates the problem. According to research examining belief perseverance, people tend to adhere to their original ideas, regardless of the presence of disconfirming evidence. (Bloom, 2001) While studies in cognition considered the problematic reasoning of the average individual in everyday situations, anecdotal evidence also exists to support the existence of these fallacies in academic and scientific reasoning as well (Eysenck & Keane, 2005)
Worldviews relate reciprocally with general life data. (Berger, 2005) Worldviews are influenced by learning experiences and, in turn, affect what people perceive and how they interpret their perceptions. While genetically transmitted temperaments provide broad parameters for worldviews, daily life experiences affect the particular manifestations of these temperaments (Kristal, 2005).
As regards the divided attention correlation with cognitive psychology, it transpires that the cognitive standpoint of learning chiefly suggests as how the mind ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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