Theories of Visual and Auditory Attention Essay

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A popular subject within psychology is that of selective attention, particularly visual, auditory or visual and auditory attention (Driver, 2001). There are many theories of visual and auditory attention that provide us with a greater understanding of the ways in which humans attend to different stimuli (Driver, 2001), such as Broadbent’s (1958) filter theory of attention for example. This essay will compare and contrast theories of visual and auditory attention as well as discussing how well these theories explain how we attend to objects. The essay will consist of three auditory attention theories of Broadbent’s filter theory, Treisman’s (1964) attenuation theory, and Deutsch and Deutsch’s (1963) late selection model of attention; and…show more content…
Furthermore, Shinn-Cunningham proposes that auditory perception is similar to visual perception and thus can be understood in terms of visual attention theories. In light of this, it can be argued that an individual selectively attends to an auditory object in much the same way that the individual would attend to a visual object.

The attenuation theory of attention is a modified version of the filter theory, which was proposed by Treisman (1964, p.449-459) that argues that stimuli, particularly words, of high importance and relevance to the individual is most often selected for processing. In addition to this, this theory argues that unattended information is not always lost, just attenuated (Treisman, 1964, p.449-459). On a similar note to that of Broadbent’s (1958) filter theory of attention, the attenuation theory has only a limited scope in providing an adequate explanation for how we attend to objects because this is an extension of filter theory, which means that this model also suffers from the same problems as that of filter theory in that it was produced to explain auditory attention. Nonetheless, in relation to the work by Shinn-Cunningham (2008, p.182-186), it may be the case that attenuation theory of attention is an effective means by which we can explain how we attend to objects,
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