Visual Attention and Motion Essay

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Visual Attention and Motion

The human observer is quite efficient at detecting motion. If a target is detectable when still, it becomes even more so when it is in motion. The brain uses multiple cues to help us perceive motion including information from all of our senses. The focus of this paper will be the visual system and how motion is perceived visually. Motion is in part perceived by the changing patterns of light on the retina. This cannot account for total motion perception, however, because we can perceive motion while keeping an image stable on our retina or create changes in these light patterns by moving our head and eyes. In order to turn these spatial patterns of light into information about motion we must integrate
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What is it exactly? How does it work? Even Webster is of little help. If you look it up in the dictionary you will find an entry that states “to keep one’s mind on something.” That would describe the phrase “to pay attention” or “to attend,” but one is still left wondering what is the mechanism of attention. Some researchers don’t even like to use the word attention because it is difficult to say exactly what the term is meant to identify (Pashler, 1998; Thornton & Gilden, 2001; Watamaniuk & McKee, 1995, 1998).
According to H. E. Pashler (1998) there are “(two primary ideas) that characterize attention: selectivity and capacity limitation.” That is, at any given moment in time we are receiving a great deal of perceptual information and because we can become overwhelmed by trying to do too much at once we must select the part of our environment that is relevant at that particular moment. Pashler goes on to identify “core phenomena addressed by attention research: selectivity of perception, voluntary control over this selectivity, and capacity limits in mental functioning that cannot be attributed to mere limitations in our sensory or motor systems.” When reading the literature on current attention research there are a few key ideas to remember. These include early or late selection, or the point at which attention exerts its influence on perception. Early selection theories suggest that only the selected stimulus is processed
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