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Re: historical perspective on theories of attention

Dear Peter et al.,

Your point about 'urgency' is well taken. And cartoonification of key signal features, particularly if they have a high level of 'urgency' or 'pertinence', would be a very useful procedure for the auditory system to adopt. As you indicate, it would be great if such cartoonification could be pinned down and characterized.



I wonder if the distinction between urgency and importance is useful if taking a sort of evolutionery perspective? by this, I mean that,if we are looking for some simple physical features that tend to encourage attention, might these be causal features, and if so, are they reducible to signal features?
I'm thinking of items like "auditory looming" (which I think of as part of the general class of "comingness"), which may signify call to action.
I wonder if perception has been shaped by "urgency". Important items - like understanding the shape of the place in which one is, mapping escape routes, food etc, can be perceived 'in between' urgent items. In this way, planning (for escape or feeding) can reduce the number of urgent items.
So much of auditory spatial perception in real environments can be 'background', requiring little or no attention. An example might be the reverberant characteristics of a room. Very few people bother to pay explicit attentino to this, yet most learn to 'use' a room, so that the perception of direction of sources in a given room improves over time (Barbara Shinn Cunningham, and others)
So timeliness of response might be facilitated by inattentive, unconscious or preconscious processes that just run in the background, building up a background cognitive context that matches the ongoing causal context well enough for survival. In the absence of this, a sudden noise in our ear makes us jump whereas the same noise, albeit unanticipated, would provoke a different response if it occurred 20 metres away. The question is, what key signal features differ in those two cases? Can these be cartoonified, and is that what perception does (especially in urgent cases)?

Dr. Peter Lennox
Signal Processing Applications Research Group
University of Derby
http://sparg.derby.ac.uk Int. tel: 1775

Diana Deutsch <ddeutsch@xxxxxxxx> 03/05/2006 20:30 >>>
Dear Dan, John et al.,

To place this discussion in historical perspective, the 'late
selection' model of attention was first proposed by Deutsch, J.A. and
Deutsch, D.,'Attention: Some theoretical considerations',
Psychological Review, 1963, 70, 80-90. There have, of course, been a
large number of elaborations of this basic model. The article is


Diana Deutsch

Professor Diana Deutsch
Department of Psychology University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. #0109 La Jolla, CA 92093-0109, USA

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