Essay, Pages 5 (1038 words)
The three models used to study the covert spatial distribution of attention has been used in experiments on visual attention but since few researches focused on auditory tasks it is presented here as it can possibly used to explain other sensory modalities.
The first model
The first model says that attention can only be directed to one visual field (Kinsbourne, 1993). This in essence means that we can only attend to one thing at a time; hence we can only see one movie at one time.
However, the model is too simplistic to fully define visual attention.
The human vision can accurately build a spatial model of the external environment and relevant objects will compete for selection with other objects. On the other hand, this model may be used in the study of auditory domains because its spatial distribution is lesser. Sound is composed of waves that travel in the air, it is quite dispersed and thus to attend to a sound cue is much faster than attending to a visual stimuli.
Moreover, as we perceived it sound does not occupy a physical space much like objects, letters, and colors etc. that are used as visual stimuli.
The second model
The second model states that attention can be divided in a graded manner with the maximum performance at the focus of attention, which gradually deteriorates, with the increasing displacement of the focus. This means that the quality of our attention to a target is at the most accurate if it is within our central focus and that our perception of the target deteriorates a sit moves further away.
This model is much more suited in the study of auditory performance since it takes into account the graded allocation of attention with respect to sound and distance.
It is interesting to explore at what point our attention to an auditory stimuli would decrease and to which it is strongest.
The third model
The third model is the premotor model (Rizzolati, et. al, 1994), which posits that covert attentional shifts of attention on cuing mechanisms are driven by planned and unexecuted motor programs. Wherein performance may decrease when cue and visual target appear at opposite locations, this model says that when we are asked to attend to visual stimuli we do so even if we do not actively do it, but for a split second we may shift our attention.
In a study of reorienting using the premotor theory found that the increase in processing time during attentional reorienting is due to program readjustment which accompanies attentional reorienting (Bedard, et. al. , 1993). However, this model may have different results for auditory performance since sound spatial distribution cannot be accurately identified unless in laboratory conditions where cues can be given to subjects as to where the sound is emanating from. According to Posner (1980) studying the nature of covert attention will be an investigation of attentional mechanisms.
In his studies, he found that there was an advantage for pre-cued spatial areas in covert processing but failed to find consistent results for response time advantage to the pre-cued areas due to competing nonattentional explanations. For instance, response priming and overt orienting (head and eye movements) are two examples of such alternative explanations. However, with an orthogonal testing method were cues and targets fell across different spatial dimensions (in which cues come from left or right and targets come from up and down), he was able to achieve consistent results without the possibility encountering response-priming effects.
The tracking of head or eye movements
The tracking of head or eye movements controlled for covert vs. overt orientating. From his research, Posner (1980) was able to distinguish between endogenous attention control, typically characterized as cognitively driven or top-down and exogenous control, which is characterized as stimulus driven or bottom-up. He found that the allocation of the covert attention field to a particular spatial area depended on the nature of the cues presented before the target and that luminance detection was improved at the cued peripheral locations.
Given the theoretical underpinnings of Posner and the three models presented here, it is desirable to study covert attention using auditory tasks, since it largely has been understudied and recent developments on the use of multisensory modalities have been positive. The study of visual attention is replete with various studies, but as a related variable, the theories used to explain and explore visual attention may also be used in studying auditory attention. Visual attention as a field of study has evolved throughout the years becoming more specialized in the process.
The early researches on visual attention
The early researches on visual attention had been on visual processing, it involved detecting the color, orientation, depth, motion or boundaries of target objects. At present, studies on visual attention have centered on high-level visual cognition which has been unstudied for some time and is quite difficult and expensive to study. Visual attention can be defined as the process by which our mind selects what parts of the stimuli it will send for processing to our cognitive mechanisms. Attention in the past has been studied using visual cues, basically building upon the eye movement observation.
In the process of cuing, peripheral cuing allows the recognition of the target stimulus presented at the determined location. It has been proposed that spatial attention on the cued position peripherally enhances the target detection. However, peripheral detection may interact with the visual target and hence is evidence that allocation of attention is not always present in visual cuing. Researches on location cueing on visual attention generally have established that identification of targets is faster and more accurate if it is cued than at uncued locations (Cheal & Lyon, 1991, Jonides, 1981; Posner, 1980).
A related finding is that the difference of time between cue and stimulus onset asynchrony affects both response time and accuracy, when the SOA is increased identification response time decrease at valid location and increase or remain at the same level for invalid locations (Remington & Pierce, 1984). A similar study examined the origins of the cuing effect, whether it was induced by attentional processes or by visual interaction, the researches found that the subjects performance on peripheral cuing tasks deteriorated in the