1. What is selective attention?
2. Your description should include the two key aspects of selective attention, a consideration of top-down versus bottom-up levels of control and an example of the effects of selective attention on behavior.
3. How relevant is selective attention to forms of mental illness and it's treatment?
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1. What is selective attention? Your description should include the two key aspects of selective attention, a consideration of top-down versus bottom-up levels of control and an example of the effects of selective attention on behavior.
Selective attention is a state of consciousness which involves focusing on a specific aspect of a scene while ignoring other aspects. Selective attention can be conscious (as when one chooses to attend to an interesting object, such as a television, instead of a less interesting one, such as a coffee table) or unconscious (as in a scene of a green field with a single red tulip - the tulip will receive attention initially). The former is referred to top-down levels of control, and the latter, bottom-up levels of control. One example of the effects of selective attention on behavior is that people often believe they have taken in an entire scene when, in reality, they had only processed the area they were attending to and only had a general gist of the rest of the scene. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_attention
For example, various theories have been proposed about how certain aspects of a scene receive attention while others do not. Anne Treisman's Feature integration theory is widely accepted. Kyle Cave's FeatureGate model builds on Treisman's ideas, and proposes two mechanisms of visual selection, bottom-up and top-down, which roughly correlate with unconscious and conscious attentional selection, respectively. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_attention
From another source:
The notion of ``selective attention'' may thus be clarified using Woods' (1990) definition as ``the preferential detection, identification, and recognition of selected stimuli in an environment containing multiple sources of stimulation.'' In this way, selective attention will be differentiated from ``attention'' by saying that selective attention involves a possibly temporary predisposition towards attending to some stimuli while ignoring others which would, under usual circumstances, be equally, or more noticeable. Selective attention may not be categorized as mere vigilance or arousal though it may necessitate these features. Similarly, ...
This solution describes selective attention, including the two key aspects of selective attention and an example of the effects of selective attention on behavior. It also discusses how relevant selective attention is to forms of mental illness and it's treatment.