Essay about Theories of Visual and Auditory Attention

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It is essential that humans focus on specific objects as they would not be able to perform one action at a time, and humans see their world in objects. Another purpose of attention is so that actions can be directed and controlled (Allport, 1987 cited in Naish 2010). It is important to research this in order to optimise health and safety and performance in occupational fields and make further discoveries in clinical neuropsychology. Some debates rage around how we attend to objects through our auditory and visual processes. Early selection theorists argue that all extraneous information is filtered out at an early stage and is ignored completely. The brain has limited capacity to deal with all the stimuli surrounding the object. From…show more content…
It provided good evidence for his Filter Theory (FT). The results could be clearly predicted (Naish 2010). He argued that the brain initially rejected all the information surrounding the object of attention after a very brief pre-attentive process of parallel processing. It then filtered out and rejected extraneous information because the brain had limited capacity to manage all the information (Naish 2010 and Driver 2001). This explained well how one voice could be picked out above many.

According to his theory the brain processes the information much like a computer i.e. serially rather than in parallel (Naish 2010). Thus he produced a very simple model of the process for his FT based on this (Driver 2001). Driver argued that this model was ‘brilliantly simplistic’ (2001). It can be argued that it is necessary to simplify the model in order to understand it and provide a powerful argument, and to isolate individual processes. However, it could also be argued that it is too simplistic given the complexities of the brain and the environment competing in the real world.

A debate ensued about whether the brain processes information serially or in parallel. Serial processing explains why people filter out unattended material (Driver 2001). However it does not explain how we recognise sound. Its findings suggest we use
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