Anne Treisman and Garry Gelade suggests that when perceiving a stimulus, features are "registered early, automatically, and in parallel, while objects are identified separately" and at a later stage in processing. The theory has been one of the most influential psychological models of human visual attention.
According to Treisman, the first stage of the feature integration theory is the preattentive stage. Perception occurs automatically, unconsciously, effortlessly, and early in the perceptual process. During this stage, the object is analyzed for details such as shape, color, orientation and movement, with each aspect being processed in different areas of the brain. The idea that features are automatically separated appears to be counterintuitive; however, we are not aware of this process because it occurs early in perceptual processing, before we become conscious of the object.
The second stage of the feature integration theory is the focused attention stage, where the individual features of an object combine in order to perceive the whole object. In order to combine the individual features of an object, attention is required and selection of that object occurs within a “master map” of locations. The master map of locations contains all of the locations in which features have been detected, with each location in the master map having access to the multiple feature maps. When attention is focused at a particular location on the map, the features currently in that position are attended to and are stored in "object files". If the object is familiar, associations are made between the object and prior knowledge, which results in identification of that object. In support of this stage, researchers often refer to patients suffering from Balint’s syndrome. Due to damage in the parietal lobe, these people are unable to focus attention on individual objects. When given stimuli that requires combining features, people suffering from Balint’s syndrome are unable to focus attention long enough to combine the features, providing support for this stage of the theory.
Treisman distinguishes between two kinds of visual search tasks, "feature search" and "conjunction search." Feature searches can be performed fast and pre-attentively for targets defined by only one feature, such as color, shape, perceived direction of lighting, movement, or orientation. Features should "pop out" during search and should be able to form illusory conjunctions. Conversely, conjunction searches occur with the combination of two or more features and are identified serially. Conjunction search is much slower than feature search and requires conscious attention and effort. In multiple experiments, some referenced in this article, Treisman concluded that color, orientation, and intensity are features for which feature searches may be performed.
As a reaction to the feature integration theory, Wolfe proposed the Guided Search Model 2.0. According to this model, attention is directed to an object or location through a preattentive process. The preattentive process, as Wolfe explains, directs attention in both a bottom-up and top-down way. Information acquired through both bottom-up and top-down processing is ranked according to priority. The priority ranking guides visual search and makes the search more efficient. Whether the Guided Search Model 2.0 or the feature integration theory is correct theory of visual search is still a hotly debated topic.
In order to test the idea that attention plays a vital role in visual perception, Treisman and Schmidt designed an experiment to show that features may exist independently of one another early in processing. Participants were shown a picture involving four objects hidden by two black numbers. The display was flashed for one-fifth of a second followed by a random-dot masking field that appeared on screen to eliminate any residual perception that might remain after the stimuli were turned off. Participants were to report the black numbers they saw at each location where the shapes had previously been. The results of this experiment verified Treisman and Schmidt’s hypothesis.
In 18% of trials, participants reported seeing shapes “made up of a combination of features from two different stimuli,” even when the stimuli had great differences; this is often referred to as an illusory conjunction. Specifically, illusory conjunctions occur in various situations. For example, you may identify a passing person wearing a red shirt and yellow hat and very quickly transform him or her into one wearing a yellow shirt and red hat. The feature integration theory provides explanation for illusory conjunctions; because features exist independently of one another during early processing and are not associated with a specific object, they can easily be incorrectly combined both in laboratory settings, as well as in real life situations.
Balint’s syndrome patients have provided support for the feature integration theory; particularly, research participant, a Bálint’s syndrome sufferer who was unable to focus attention on individual objects, experienced illusory conjunctions when presented with simple stimuli such as a "blue O" or a "red T." In 23% of trials, even when able to view the stimulus for as long as 10 seconds, participant reported seeing a "red O" or a "blue T". This finding is in accordance with feature integration theory’s prediction of how one with a lack of focused attention would erroneously combine features.
If people use their prior knowledge or experience to perceive an object, they are less likely to make mistakes or illusory conjunctions. In order to explain this phenomenon, Treisman and Souther conducted an experiment in which they presented three shapes to participants where illusory conjunctions could exist. Surprisingly, when she told participants that they were being shown a carrot, lake, and tire in place of the orange triangle, blue oval, and black circle, respectively, illusory conjunctions did not exist. Treisman maintained that prior-knowledge played an important role in proper perception. Normally, bottom-up processing is used for identifying novel objects; but, once we recall prior knowledge, top-down processing is used. This explains why people are good at identifying familiar objects rather than unfamiliar.
When identifying letters while reading, not only are their shapes picked up but also other features like their colors and surrounding elements. Individual letters are processed serially when spatially conjoined with another letter. The locations of each feature of a letter are not known in advance, even while the letter is in front of the reader. Since the location of the letter’s features and or the location of the letter is unknown feature interchanges can occur if one is not attentively focused. This is known as lateral masking, which in this case, refers to a difficulty in separating a letter from the background.
To summarize, in perceiving objects we may synthesize conjunctions of separable features by directing attention serially to each item in turn. This feature-integration theory predicts that when attention is diverted or overloaded, features may be wrongly recombined, giving rise to illusory conjunctions. The presentation confirms that illusory conjunctions are frequently experienced among unattended stimuli varying in color and shape, and that they occur also with size and solidity; outlined versus filled-in shapes. They are shown both in verbal recall and in simultaneous and successive matching tasks, making it unlikely that they depend on verbal labeling or on memory failure. They occur as often between stimuli differing on many features as between more similar stimuli, and spatial separation has little effect on their frequency. Each feature seems to be coded as an independent entity and to migrate, when attention is diverted, with few constraints from the other features of its source or destination.
If these mountains had eyes, they wake up to find two strangers (Mounir Georges & Anil) at their feet, standing in admiration as violet hue air pours on the shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, wish thunder praise, but are silent with the intention that man’s weak praise should be given God’s attention.
Mindfulness refers to a psychological quality that involves bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis. It involves paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. It is a kind of non-elaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is. The first component of mindfulness] involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance. The self-regulated attention involves conscious awareness of one’s current thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, which can result in meta-cognitive skills for controlling concentration. Orientation to experience involves accepting one’s mind stream, maintaining open and curious attitudes, and thinking in alternative ways.
Practice of mindful awareness fosters social and emotional awareness, enhances psychological wellbeing, and promotes academic success. Reflective part of our brains can be hindered by the emotional or reactive part. Developing greater self-awareness can help regulate the reactive part of the brain and make it easier to reflect and to think things through. Mindful awareness increases ability to regulate emotions and temper our reactivity. For two minutes, three times a day, focus attention on breath. When mind wanders, return to attention of breath. This mindful effort of refocusing on breath has been proven to increase executive functioning in us. Mindful awareness increases mind and body awareness, and you feel refreshed and calm after the exercise. Practicing mindful awareness regularly enables better able to attend to tasks, effective learning and you become more compassionate human being.
Mindful awareness practice increases mind and body awareness and feel refreshed and calm after the exercise. Mindful awareness enables to recognize self-regulator and more readily access it even in times of stress and anxiety. Mindful awareness is the state of focused awareness of your own mind; it is attending purposefully to the here and now without judgment. The idea of developing an awareness of the mind without judgment has, at times, been misconstrued to mean that you are being asked to ignore right from wrong or even worse; to abandon our moral center. This is far from the truth. Essentially, “without judgment” means to free oneself from the agony of what has happened or the dread of what is yet to be. By taking a minute to focus on the here and now, and simply be aware of how you feel at this moment helps to regroup and go forward in a more positive and productive manner; in accordance with your conscience and moral standards, not in spite of them. One who is able to attune to his inner voice is much more capable of recognizing what is morally right and thus develop a moral character.
By cultivating self-awareness and learning about how our brains work, we are more able to express genuine kindness toward others. Studies show that as children we are wired innately to be kind; yet many us appear to become less so as we grow older. Why? One reason is that as we age our attention is increasingly drawn away from an inner awareness to an external world of social pressures, material rewards and anxiety over the future. This external “noise,” makes it harder for us to heed our inner voice and attune to our emotions and the emotions of those around us. Mindful awareness opens one up to one’s own emotional reality and makes it possible to recognize the emotional needs of others.
One important component of mindful awareness is to encourage cultivate happiness. This is not, same as to drown out reality with pleasurable feelings, or even to ignore sadness. Rather, we learn how to harness happy memories as means to persevere in the face of adversity. Through mindful awareness we become more aware of what might be causing pain or anxiety and therefore better able to respond to this inner turmoil in a productive manner. A happy memory can help us strengthen our resolve to overcome challenges and to move forward in a positive direction.
Mindful awareness opens to us a world of possibilities. We learn the true meaning of optimism. Optimism is not rainbows and gold stars and sweet treats, but the belief that there is a solution. Optimists continue to struggle even against overwhelming odds because they are problem solvers and as such, their brains actively seek out new connections and possibilities. Optimists not only see the glass as half full, but as one that is continuing to be filled. The message the mindful awareness gives is our world may present us with seemingly insurmountable problems, but through concentrated effort and a positive mindful awareness, together we can create a brilliant future.
The term cognitive psychology came into use with the publication of the book Cognitive Psychology by Ulric Neisser in 1967. Cognitive Psychology revolves around the notion that if we want to know what makes people tick then we need to understand the internal processes of their mind. Cognition literally means “knowing”. In other words, psychologists from this approach study cognition which is ‘the mental act or process by which knowledge is acquired.’
Cognitive psychology focuses on the way humans process information, looking at how we treat information that comes in to the person; what behaviorists would call stimuli, and how this treatment leads to responses. In other words, they are interested in the variables that mediate between stimulus/input and response/output. Cognitive psychologists study internal processes including perception, attention, language, memory and thinking.
v Several factors were important in this:
v Dissatisfaction with the behaviorist approach in its simple emphasis on external behavior rather than internal processes
v The development of better experimental methods
v Comparison between human and computer processing of information
The cognitive approach began to revolutionize psychology in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, to become the dominant approach that is to say perspective in psychology by the late 1970s. Interest in mental processes had been gradually restored through the work of Piaget and Tolman. Other factors were important in the early development of the cognitive approach. For example, dissatisfaction with the behaviorist approaches in its simple emphasis on behavior rather than internal processes and the development of better experimental methods. But it was the arrival of the computer that gave cognitive psychology the terminology and metaphor it needed to investigate the human mind. The start of the use of computers allowed psychologists to try to understand the complexities of human cognition by comparing it with something simpler and better understood that is to say an artificial system such as a computer.
Cognitive Approach Summary
Evaluation of the Cognitive Approach
Skinner criticizes the cognitive approach as he believes that only external stimulus – response behavior should be studied as this can be scientifically measured. Therefore, mediation processes (between stimulus and response) do not exist as they cannot be seen and measured. Skinner continues to find problems with cognitive research methods, namely introspection (as used by Wundt) due to its subjective and unscientific nature.
Carl Rogers believes that the use of laboratory experiments by cognitive psychology have low ecological validity and create an artificial environment due to the control over variables. Rogers emphasizes a more holistic approach to understanding behavior.
The information processing paradigm of cognitive psychology views that minds in terms of a computer when processing information. However, there are important difference between humans and computers. The mind does not process information like a computer as computers don’t have emotions or get tired like humans. Behaviorism assumes that people are born a blank slate (tabula rasa) and are not born with cognitive functions like schemas, memory or perception. The cognitive approach does not always recognize physical (re: biological psychology) and environmental (re: behaviorism) factors in determining behavior.