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6 months

What does 'attention' mean to you? This course, Attention, will help you to examine how we 'pay attention'. How do we manage to single out sounds and images that require attention and how easy is it to distract someone and why?

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Open University UK

May 17, 2022

UK

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Last updated:

May 17, 2022

Duration:

6 months

FREE

This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months

Description

What does 'attention' mean to you? This course, Attention, will help you to examine how we 'pay attention'. How do we manage to single out sounds and images that require attention and how easy is it to distract someone and why?

Introduction

For many of us, the concept of attention may have rather negative connotations. At school we were told to pay attention, making us all too aware that it was not possible to listen to the teacher while at the same time being lost in more interesting thoughts. Neither does it seem possible to listen effectively to two different things at the same time. How many parents with young children would love to be able to do that! One could be excused for feeling that evolution has let us down by failing to enable us to process more than one thing at a time. If that is how you feel, then this course might add insult to injury, because it will cite evidence that we do in fact process a good deal of the material to which we are not attending. Why you might ask, do we go to the trouble of analyzing incoming information, only to remain ignorant of the results? To attempt an answer it is necessary to consider a range of issues, stretching from registration of information by the sense organs, through the processes of perception, to the nature of awareness and consciousness. Attention is a broad and intriguing topic. That breadth makes it very difficult to offer a simple definition of the term, so I will not attempt to do so until the end of the course.

Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand different cognitive psychological approaches used to examine such forms of attention as attention to regions of space, attention to objects and attention for action
  • Summarise the different cognitive psychological approaches under a fairly abstract definition of the term
  • Understand how ideas about attention have changed and diversified over the last fifty years and how well they have stood up to examination.

Course Curriculum

    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Disentangling sounds 01:00:00
    • Attending to sounds 00:30:00
    • Eavesdropping on the unattended message 00:20:00
    • Summary of Section 1 00:20:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • Knowing about unseen information 00:30:00
    • Towards a theory of parallel processing 00:30:00
    • Rapid serial visual presentation 01:00:00
    • Masking and attention 00:20:00
    • Summary of Section 2 00:20:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Serial and parallel search 00:20:00
    • Non-target effects 00:20:00
    • The ‘flanker’ effect 00:30:00
    • Summary of Section 3 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • The effects of irrelevant speech 00:30:00
    • Attending across modalities 00:20:00
    • Summary of Section 4 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • The effects of brain damage 00:30:00
    • Event-related potentials 00:20:00
    • Summary of Section 5 00:10:00
    • Concluding thoughts 00:40:00
    • Conclusion 00:10:00

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