Attention and Information Processing in Infants and Adults: Perspectives from Human and Animal Research

By Byron A. Campbell; Harlene Hayne et al. | Go to book overview

importantly, to be able to predict the consequences of environmental change. Such predictability permits anticipatory adjustments in order to be able to respond optimally. If the OR reflects, to some extent, such important functions, then it would be surprising if the anticipatory changes resulted only from a preattentive analysis, or only from a limited capacity analysis.

The work described in this chapter involves two rather distinct procedures -- one in which task-irrelevant stimuli were employed in a situation designed to study passive attention, and a second in which an explicit cue warned of the impending presentation of a task stimulus. A final question to be raised concerns what orienting responses elicited by task-irrelevant events and those elicited by signal warning stimuli have in common. The major source of communality seems to be that both types of response are associated with a re-allocation of attentional resources. In the two-stimulus paradigm, which Graham and Hackley (in press) have characterized as involving localized orienting, the data indicate that the responses elicited and the resources allocated are related to anticipated processing requirements which are explicit. In the passive attention situation, the re-allocation of attentional resources that are part of generalized orienting are also presumably directed toward the potential consequences of the eliciting stimuli, although in this case, those consequences are not explicit.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The research reported in this chapter, and preparation of the chapter itself, was supported by grants from the Australian Research Council and from the Committee on Research and Conference Grants of the University of Hong Kong.


REFERENCES

Barry R. J. ( 1984). "Stimulus omission and the orienting response". Psychophysiology, 21, 535-540.

Barry R. J., & O'Gorman J. G. ( 1987). "Stimulus omission and the orienting response: Latency differences suggest different mechanisms". Biological Psychology, 25, 261-276.

Bohlin G., Graham F. K., Silverstein L. D., & Hackley S. A. ( 1981). "Cardiac orienting and startle blink modification in novel and signal situations". Psychophysiology, 18, 603-611.

Brooks C. M., Koizumi K., & Sato A. (Eds.). ( 1979). Integrativefunctions of the autonomic nervous system. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Churchill M., Remington B., & Siddle D. A.T. ( 1987). "The effects of context on long-term habituation of the orienting response in humans". Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 39B, 315-338.

Cranney J., & Ashton R. ( 1986). "Preexposure to contextual stimuli: Effects on startle responding in humans". Physiological Psychology, 13, 253-257.

Dawson M. E., Filion D. L., & Schell A. M. ( 1989). "Is elicitation of the autonomic orienting response associated with allocation of processing resources?" Psychophysiology, 26, 560-572.

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