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This coursework allows you, and indeed asks you, to explore theories, concepts and ideas in depth. An element of critical thinking is to bring together information and ideas from different topics, approaches, and theories and this is appreciated in your attempt to complete this coursework.

The criteria used in marking your coursework are available in this document, as well as the marking rubric, which is attached to your submission box. You can also find the University General Assessment Criteria in the Psychology Programme Handbook 2017- 2018.

You will be provided with timely feedback within one month of the submission of your coursework. Basic Information Assessment
Hypothesis. Information that is unattended and ignored will still be perceived and influence behaviour (late selection view).
Prediction. Participants will take longer to identify the target letter when the distractor letter is incongruent with the target letter.

Selective Attention in Previous Research

Inability to concentrate despite insignificant diversions is a typical and rather baffling awareness. The present research work extends to measure the influence of visual distraction on the capacity to response appropriately.

Adam Gazzaley and Anna Nobre in 2012 in their research on selective attention analyzed the influences on working memory performance due to the ability to focus of cognitive resources on relevant information. They reviewed evidence from human neurophysiologic studies which demonstrated the top-down intonation as a frequent neural mechanism. The primary attributes integrated activity intonation in stimulus-selective sensory cortices (Rosenholtz, Huang & Ehinger, 2012). This contemporary research was based on the performance of human sensory memory for identifying objects among diverse distractions.

Alan et al. in 2012 analyzed the significance of concentration of the mind of the narrators and the presenter. The research was done within the environment of several narrators. Previous work used the method of auditory evoked spread spectrum. This was done to remove detailed responses temporally of the both speech flows simultaneously under cocktail party-like condition. It was shown that attention was affected in the treatment of exogenous stimulus in the 200-220 ms range in the left portion of the brain. The present study analyzes these effects in the context of auditory processing attention research conducted in a particular treatment scenario.

Søren, Sandra and Matthias in 2011 investigated methods of concurrent attention selection of location and color in humans. For the experimental purpose, two separate colors were used in overlapping random dot kinematogram where a center fixation cross was placed. Research outcome indicated that feature-selective concentration creates an early stimulus having the attended characteristic all through the visual ground. The present work was in line with this earlier study and wanted to elaborately notice the impacts of distractions in visual attention.

Brandon and Brian in 2011 investigated the impact of consideration on the delineation of spatial connections between objects. The work made use of a novel test recognition commission including unavoidable powerful protests and numerous question following. For each situation, onlookers specifically took care of two target objects among two diversions and afterward revealed the apparent places of every one of the four protests quickly after they vanished. Specific consideration regarding targets packs with apparent space between them was found though they were drawing in each other. On the other way elective restraint of diversions grows apparent space between them, as though they were repulsing each other. Together, these impacts recommended that maintained consideration effectively affected spatial portrayal by all the while expanding and pressing the authentic texture of material.

Experimental Setup and Procedure

The key aim was to examine the impact of unattended object on attention. A principle objective of the null hypothesis was to portray the determinants of concentrated observation that enable individuals to disregard unimportant diversions. This very objective has been inquired in the current study and estimation was made about the impact on attention timing by the incongruent distractions. Numerous perceptions of obstruction impacts from insignificant distraction have likewise amassed.

The most important and fundamental query was about the effect of distraction on visual reaction time (DV).  Two levels of visual distractions with one neutral condition were designed for the visual experiment of present research (IVs). Quantitative analysis was performed for assessing the impact of three levels of the independent factors on the feedback time of the respondents in visual estimation.

The respondents of the visual estimation examination were from the University of Roehampton. The advertisement for voluntary participation for the purpose of the research work was earlier posted in the University notice board. The subject and primary intention of the experiment was clearly stated in the advertisement. Total 149 undergraduate students from the first year psychology department participated in the experiment, 132 were female and the rest 17 were male participants. The average age of the applicants from age group of 18 to 28 years was 19.91 years (SD = 2.26 years).

The experiment was done using the E-prime 2.0 software platform. The centre of the display screen contained the grey fixation cross of 5mm X 5 mm in dimension. The white dots of                   2mm X 2 mm dimension were prominent against the black background of the display screen. Three letters (X, N, and P) were used for the purpose of the experiment, where X and N were the target letters. The dimension of the white colored letters was 9mm X 11 mm and the target letter was placed in a circle of 33 mm radius with the center at the fixation point. The distracting letter (X, N or P) was placed 67 mm to the either side of the circle. The feedback screen for the respondent was 28mm X 8 mm for correct identification and 34 mm X 8 mm for the wrong response.

Initially, all the participants were informed about the entire experimental setup and then the screen for the experiment was prepared. To begin with, the fixation cross was placed in front of the participant for 1000 milliseconds. In the second phase, each of the participants was presented with 12 trial blocks without distraction letters. Afterwards, the participants were again shown in the 12 trial blocks with distraction letters. The second phase lasted for 150 milliseconds. Respondents registered their feedback, and their reaction time for all three cases (neutral, congruent distraction, and incongruent distraction) was recorded.

Analysis of Results

The feedback reaction times for all three experimental conditions were separately recorded. The average time for 12 congruent and incongruent distractions was calculated for each of the 149 participants, after exclusion of erroneous testing, for further analysis. The reaction times for all the three trials were positive, but moderately skewed (Cong_skew = 0.76, Incong_skew = 0.58, Neutral_skew = 0.72) with the value of kurtosis less than 3 (Cong_kurt = 0.78, Incong_kurt = 0.21, Neutral_kurt = 0.78). The median and the mean values were also very close for all the experimental conditions. Hence, the distributions of the reaction times were almost normal, if not exactly symmetric. The variables were parametric in nature which was later verified with Shapiro-Wilk test (table 2 in the appendix).

The average reaction time for the reaction times of the participants for three levels of experimental conditions has been provided in the table 1.

Table 1: Descriptive Values of the variables for three experimental conditions

Statistics

Age (years)

RT_Congruent (ms)

RT_Neutral (ms)

RT_Incongruent (ms)

Mean

19.91

541.07

546.07

594.48

Median

19

537

538

583

Mode

18

475

541

527

Standard Error

0.19

6.18

6.11

6.89

Standard Deviation

2.27

75.48

74.54

84.06

Kurtosis

0.52

0.78

0.78

0.21

Skewness

1.08

0.76

0.72

0.58

Minimum

18

378

364

386

Maximum

28

828

830

889

The average reaction time taken by the participants to identify the target letter in the screen was greater in incongruent (M = 594.48, SD = 84.06) distractions, whereas the average response time was least for congruent obstruction (M = 541.07, SD = 75.48). The average time taken for the neutral situation was very close to the congruent condition (M = 546.07, SD = 74.54).

The average reaction times for each participant in three visual experimental situations were compared using one way AVOVA with three independent factors. There was a significant difference in the average reaction times for the students (F = 21.23, p < 0.05). The Levene’s test statistic (L = 1.79, p = 0.17) also established the variability of variances in the feedback times. A post hoc (Tukey HSD) analysis was performed and the significant difference in reaction times for incongruence obstruction compared to congruent obstruction (MD = 53.41, p < 0.05) and neutral condition (MD = 48.40, p < 0.05) were observed.

Paired t-test also confirmed the results of ANOVA with a statistically significant difference (t = -24.46, p < 0.05) between the incongruent and congruent distractions and also with a statistically significant difference (t = -26.69, p < 0.05) between the incongruent and neutral obstructions in the visual test.

The primary research direction was along the analysis of selective attention timing, which was measured with the feedback timing of the respondent students for three distraction levels in the visual test. The findings of the visual tests were highly encouraging, since the late reaction timing due to visual distracting letters was well established (Pratte et al., 2013). The results were significantly sufficient to reject the null hypothesis claiming the concentrated observation that enables individuals to disregard unimportant diversions. The results were in line with the earlier research works on late reactions due to selective observations.

Comparison with Previous Works

The outcome of Brandon and Brian in 2011, Alan et al. in 2012 were supported by the current research. The relation between response period and unattended distractions was observed in the work of Alan et al., but the nature of the experiment was audible in nature. Research work done by Adam Gazzaley and Anna Nobre was done to assess the effect on working memory. The effect was due to ability to focus of cognitive resources on relevant information. In an earlier research, the effect of neural mechanism was explained on the spatial attention capabilities (Baldauf & Desimone, 2014). The existing results of the research resembled with the biological explanation, which was the area of expertise of that earlier work. In 2011, the impact of selective attention on perception of objects was analyzed with respect to the dimension study (Liverence & Scholl, 2011). Object specific spatial attention variance was well described in the earlier paper. In this work, the variation in distraction letters was not used as a stimulus in the visual test. Jan Theeuwes in 2009 scrutinized for variation in objects by the eye movement of the participants. The preference of human eyes was also noticed and inclination for the similar patterned objects was evident. The present work also reflected similar results, where response time was less for congruent distraction.  

The limited resources in the visual experiment untied the scope for further research based on the same platform of visual distractions. The variance in shape and size of letters with more distracting letters could earn more interesting results. The participants for this study were mainly aged in their early twenties. Variation in the age of the respondents also could generalize the results for better conclusion (Ballesteros, Mayas & Reales, 2014). The comparison of older and younger objects could be interesting regarding the visual experiment (Ballesteros & Mayas, 2015). The late attention for the unattended distractions was clearly established from the evidences and outcomes of this research.

References

Andersen, S. K., Fuchs, S., & Müller, M. M. (2011). Effects of feature-selective and spatial attention at different stages of visual processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(1), 238-246.

Baldauf, D., & Desimone, R. (2014). Neural mechanisms of object-based attention. Science, 344(6182), 424-427.

Ballesteros, S., & Mayas, J. (2015). Selective attention affects conceptual object priming and recognition: a study with young and older adults. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 1567.

Ballesteros, S., Mayas, J., & Reales, J. M. (2014). Cognitive function in normal aging and in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Gazzaley, A., & Nobre, A. C. (2012). Top-down modulation: bridging selective attention and working memory. Trends in cognitive sciences, 16(2), 129-135.

Liverence, B. M., & Scholl, B. J. (2011). Selective attention warps spatial representation: Parallel but opposing effects on attended versus inhibited objects. Psychological Science, 22(12), 1600-1608.

Liverence, B. M., & Scholl, B. J. (2011). Selective attention warps spatial representation: Parallel but opposing effects on attended versus inhibited objects. Psychological Science, 22(12), 1600-1608.

Power, A. J., Foxe, J. J., Forde, E. J., Reilly, R. B., & Lalor, E. C. (2012). At what time is the cocktail party? A late locus of selective attention to natural speech. European Journal of Neuroscience, 35(9), 1497-1503.

Pratte, M. S., Ling, S., Swisher, J. D., & Tong, F. (2013). How attention extracts objects from noise. Journal of neurophysiology, 110(6), 1346-1356.

Rosenholtz, R., Huang, J., & Ehinger, K. A. (2012). Rethinking the role of top-down attention in vision: Effects attributable to a lossy representation in peripheral vision. Frontiers in psychology, 3, 13.

Theeuwes, J., Mathôt, S., & Kingstone, A. (2010). Object-based eye movements: The eyes prefer to stay within the same object. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72(3), 597-601.

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