Attention was described by William James (1890, cited in Eysenck & Keane, 2000, p130) as
“the taking possession of the mind, in clear and vivid form , of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalisation, concentration of consciousness are of its essence.”
This definition emphasises how attention is thought of as a selective process. It seems clear from common sense that we cannot attend to all stimuli at once, so some kind of selection must take place as to what information we attend to and process further, and what is disregarded.
Since the 1950’s, …show more content…
Treisman went on to develop an alternative selective attention theory (Treisman, 1960, as cited in Naish, 2010 & Driver, 2001) which argued that unattended stimuli were not completely filtered out, but turned down or attenuated. Normally this would make them too weak to be available for semantic processing, but in certain circumstances, e.g. when words from the unattended message had special significance, such as one’s own name, or words relevant to the attended message, these words would have a lower threshold for identification and therefore would be processed. Treisman’s model can be considered an early selection one, as it is basically a modified version of Broadbent’s (1958, as cited in Driver, 2001)