During this course wehave discussed many topics pertaining to cognitive psychology. One topic thatinterested me the most was Attention.
Before discussing this topic I had a preconceived notion of whatattention was. I believed attention was putting your mind to something orhaving a set focus on something but I was surprised to learn that is much morecomplex than that. Attention limits what we see and is required when detectingan object. There are different types of attention focused/selective attentionand divided attention. “Focusedattention is the brain’s ability to concentrate its attention on a targetstimulus for a period of time” (Cognifit, 2017). An example offocused/selective attention was described by Cherry (1953) who investigated howpeople are able to track certain conversations while tuning out other outsideconversations or noises.
He called this the “cocktail party” effect. Theseexperiments were tested by an audio message in each ear. They were specificallyasked to pay attention to one message.
The results indicated that when asked torepeat the message they were able to easily repeat it back but when asked aboutwhat the other message they could not say what was told to them. “Divided attention is a type of attentionthat allows us to process different information sources and carry out multipletasks at a time” (Cognifit, 2017). An example of divided attention would be describedin a dual task experiment by Strayer and Johnson (2001) in which driving andtalking on the phone were studied and then driving with no distractions wasstudied. Results indicated that when using the phone both braking and reactiontime were significantly slower. Attention was a topic that I did not know muchabout before taking this course (like many of the topics we covered) but I waspleasantly surprised to learn how complex the subject really is. I appreciatehow the class was taught and how much I was able to be involved in the lecturesby solving problems or doing exercises that required not only attention butmany other components of other lectures we studied. Overall, it changed myperspective on what I thought cognitive psychology was and made me interestedin gaining more knowledge on attention and how us as humans really can put ourfocus on one particular thing at a given time or divide our attention betweenmultiple things at a time.