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Divided Attention: Meaning And Application
Attention is a cognitive procedure that permits an individual to choose and concentrate on a pertinent stimulus. Divided attention is a type of attention. According to some research, divided attention is mostly common among older adults. One example of divided attention is cooking a meal and talking to a person simultaneously; none of the activity is stopped to carry out the other activity, and the attention is divided into both tasks.
What is Divided Attention?
An individual's ability the brain to take part in two distinct stimuli at the same time. Divided attention is a kind of attention happening simultaneously that allows an individual to process distinctive sources of information and successfully carry out multiple tasks simultaneously. This cognitive skill is vital as it allows an individual to be more efficient in everyday life. Every individual's ability to attend to various stimuli and do multiple tasks simultaneously has a limit. As soon as the attention is divided into two tasks, the efficiency decreases, and the individual starts performing poorly. Interference is the term that is used to elaborate when a person has a hard time attending two events at the same time. Interference can be noticed when the brain can only process a certain amount of information. However, divided attention can be improved by cognitive training.
Divided Attention in Learning and Categorization
Divided attention with many other cognitive processes can be thought of as a general ability that is available to be employed for a variety of distinct purposes. Divided attention can reach into and affect other aspects of cognition that as learning and memory. Another clear example of a cognitive process reliant on attention is categorization. Individual human beings and animals learn to form useful categories that allow them to respond to novel stimuli in ways informed by prior experiences. Divided attention is an essential factor of category learning. Divided attention permits an individual to consider multiple pertinent dimensions when diagnosed jointly with category membership. Ashby and Gott developed a method appropriate to answer questions regarding multidimensional category learning and simple and resilient enough to be used in comparative psychology. For the investigation of categorization in pigeons and three primate species, that is, humans, rhesus macaque, and capuchin monkeys, Smith et al. used this method.
In some cases, attention is needed to only one of two varying stimulus dimensions to perform accurately. In some other cases, attention is needed to both dimensions, and, in that case, performing accurately was not possible. The research suggested that the pigeons learned both categories at almost the same rate. Therefore, pigeons can divide attention among both categories or selectively attend to a single stimulus dimension. At the same time, all three species learned the single-dimension category more quickly than the information integration categories.
|Divided Attention in Learning and Categorization|
Divided attention with many other cognitive processes can be thought of as a general ability that is available to be employed for a variety of distinct purposes.
Divided attention is an essential factor of category learning.
Divided attention permits an individual to consider multiple pertinent dimensions when they are diagnosed jointly with category membership.
Ashby and Gott developed a method, that is appropriate to answer questions regarding multidimensional category learning, and that is simple and resilient enough to be used in comparative psychology
The Visual Search Paradigm
We begin with visual search, a paradigm in which observers seek a target stimulus in a geographically scattered array of stimuli. For example, you may be required to search for a red stimulus among other colored stimuli and react "yes" when a target is present and "no" when it is not. Although the presence or absence of a target is a popular assignment, there are alternative methods to ask observers to report the outcome of their visual search. They could be asked to specify the position of the target stimulus, for example, by marking which of four quadrants it occurred in or by clicking on a specific spot with a mouse. Because several stimuli are important to the task, visual search is a model for examining split attention.
The amount of stimuli in the display is a typical modification in visual search. Performance is assessed as a function of display set size, resulting in what is known as set-size effects. Set-size effects appear to be split attention effects at first glance and are frequently interpreted. On the other hand, set-size impacts might have several origins and must be evaluated with caution. Consider Motter and Simoni's visual search experiment (2008). This example has features common to hundreds of different visual search experiments in the literature.
In this experiment, observers saw an initial fixation display and pressed a key when ready to move on. This was followed by a target display indicating the trial's objective. The goals of each trial differed. The target, in this case, is a left-tilted, red "T" shape. This was followed by the stimulus display, which lasted until the answer was given. The sizes of these screens were 6, 12, 24, and 48 stimuli. The stimuli were all "T" or "L" shapes that could be red or green and rotated to six different positions. As a result, there were 24 alternative stimuli, but only one was the goal. The observer's role was to use a key press to indicate whether the target was present or missing. It appeared in half of the trials.
Disorders associated with Divided Attention
Divided attention may be caused due to several disorders, and divided attention can also lead to several disorders. For an individual with poor divided attention, interference may decrease the efficiency of the other task he/she is doing simultaneously. Psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia or other disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)may affect divided attention, but divided attention mostly affects general attention. It is also quite natural to have attention-related problems after suffering from a traumatic brain injury or stroke. In these cases, the sub-components and the attentional alterations may vary based on the affected areas of the brain. Any disorder that alters processes of attention may affect divided attention. It will be tough, and mostly impossible, for the individual to do tasks that need divided attention for the patient who suffers from contralateral Hemi negligence, i.e., not able to attend visual files opposite the injury, hypoprosexia, i.e., distractibility, hyperprosexia, i.e., acute concentration on a particular stimulus, and aprosexia, i.e., not able to concentrate.
Improvement of Divided Attention
Divided attention can be learned, improved, and trained with other cognitive skills. Many training programs help an individual improve their attention firstly between tasks, can help in the number of resources in the brain an individual use while attending to multiple stimuli simultaneously, and improve the ability to complex information processes. The divided attention improvement program is based on the science of neuroplasticity. There are various processes to help improve divided attention and other cognitive skills, which are made possible by brain plasticity. Improvement and strengthening of the brain and neural connections can be possible through practice. With the help of training, frequent actions will become automated, making the individual more efficient. A personalized cognitive stimulation program has been created to help individuals improve their weak cognitive skills. Compatible training is important for the improvement of divided attention. Several evaluative and rehabilitation tools will help optimize this and other cognitive functions. This skill must be practiced for about 15 minutes daily and twice weekly.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that in divided attention, the attention is divided among two events simultaneously due to multitasking. Several disorders affect divided attention, and remedies are also present for improving it. Most of the general features of divided attention in animals are similar to the divided attention of humans. From this research, we can find that problems in divided attention may result from the reduced speed of processing and lower performance level rather than competing stimuli, the inefficacious split of resources, or the shifting of attention between tasks.
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