Elements of Human Performance: Reaction Processes and Attention in Human Skill

Elements of Human Performance: Reaction Processes and Attention in Human Skill

Elements of Human Performance: Reaction Processes and Attention in Human Skill

Elements of Human Performance: Reaction Processes and Attention in Human Skill

Synopsis

The book focuses on 2 aspects of human performance theory, reaction processes and attention. These apsects are often ignored by treatments of cognitive psychology but are central to understanding an individual's performance.

Excerpt

This book focuses on two core topics of human performance theory, namely reaction processes and attention. These were chosen for three main reasons. First, both fields are neglected in texts on cognitive psychology. Reaction processes are not discussed at all, perhaps because reaction time tends to be viewed as a dependent variable rather than as an area of research. As is argued, it has unique properties that deserve consideration in their own right. Attention is usually not fully ignored but gets a few pages in a chapter on perception, presumably because attention has been most often identified with perceptual selection. This does not reflect present-day views in which attention is related equally to central processing and to action. The main function of attention appears to be control and coordination of processes at these various levels of processing. At the same time, the information flow from perceptual to central processes and from central to motor processes is the main ingredient of a reaction process; therefore, the fields are fully intertwined.

The second reason was a wish to describe the present state of the art in the principal areas of the original "Attention and Performance" symposia (Sanders, 1967a). Some main topics in 1967 were reaction time, dual-task performance, selective attention, visual search, and vigilance, all of which are therefore prominent themes in this book. Some have flourished and shown a lot of progress during recent decades; others suffered from a loss of interest during the 1970s and 1980s but tended to come back in recent years. I was an active researcher throughout these years, so the review is biased in favor of my own research and the research of those with whom I had frequent contacts. In other words, there is a bias in favor of Dutch contributions, which may actually be of interest to those who are mainly exposed to American literature.

The third reason was probably the main one and evolved from a growing concern about the increasing discrepancy between basic and applied research. Almost all basic research derives from what may be labeled small and simple laboratory paradigms (Sanders, 1984), artificially created laboratory tasks car-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.