Theories of Selective Attention

Focus, in psychology, is a mental method that allows one to identify and concentrate on a single stimulus. Arousal, concentrated, sustained, discriminating, alternating, and splitting focus are all recognized subtypes of Sohlberg and Mateer's Concept of Focus. The Broadbent Transmitted And reflected, the Treisman Absorption Concept, and the Deutsche & Deutsch Prototype are all examples of concepts or concepts of focused control.

What are the Theories of Selective Attention?

Discriminatory focus is one of the six forms of focus studied in neuroscience, and it involves focusing on one set of simulations while disregarding others. This is a crucial step because of the data method ceiling. Persons who practice discriminatory focus can ignore irrelevant data in favor of more important content. Discriminatory focus is linked to three distinct concepts as well as hypotheses. These are the hypotheses of Broadbent, Treisman, as well as Deutsch & Wohl. These theories illustrate why a person cannot focus completely on all of their senses simultaneously, making them comparable to the "bottleneck" hypothesis of concentration.

Broadbent's Filter Concept

In 1957, Ronald Broadbent proposed the filters theory of concentration, which postulates the existence of an optical barrier through which all perceptual impulses pass at any moment. The physical properties of the inputs inform the selection of optical inputs, and when this happens, the input is allowed to undergo the filter. According to Broadbent, the filter is essential for avoiding the saturation of data-method systems. Unselected optical data is temporarily isolated beyond the optical threshold before being methods.

However, the optical signals inside the boundary may degrade or disappear over time if they are not methods. Broadbent carried out a test in which he sent one message to a subject's eardrum and another to their left ear, requiring them to think on and then repeat loudly the data conveyed to the ear they were not paying focus to. According to the findings, subjects would recite the instructions in the manner they were heard instead of in the order in which they were delivered.

Assessment of Broadbent's Concept

  • It can be suggested from Broadbent's concept that hearing the name of a person is not possible when the person is not paying focus, as the unattended texts are filtered out before the person methods the meaning, and that is the reason the concept cannot be considered for the Cocktail party phenomenon.

  • In this concept, the filter is based on optical research of the physical features of the simulation.

Triesman’s Attenuation Concept

Anne Treisman first proposed the discriminatory focus in 1963. Broadbent's filter concept is the primary foundation of her hypothesis. However, the key difference is that Treisman's filtration reduces the volume of the background noise rather than completely silencing it. Treisman demonstrated that the experiment could identify the substance of unsupervised communication, indicating that they could comprehend the significance of both the listened and unsupervised texts. Using the monologue technique, Treisman advanced the discriminatory attention challenge. In this technique, one ear of the subject is played a recording of a speech while another is concurrently spoken. The unmanaged communication was then examined for significance. It was discovered that Broadbent's transmitted and reflected, in which the filter is retrieved based only on physical properties, could not account for the observed phenomena. Assessment of the concept of Treisman is as follows −

  • The concept of Treisman reduced some of the issues connected with the Filter Concept of Broadbent.

  • Treisman's concept needs to explain the way exactly the semantic research works.

  • The nature of the method of attenuation has never been defined accurately.

  • A constant issue with all the dichotic learning tasks is that a person can never be sure that the subjects have not shifted focus to the so-called unattended channel.

Deutsch & Deutsch

In 1963, Deutsche and Deutsch founded a late selection concept of how discriminatory focus controls. According to Deutsch & Deutsch, all the simulations are method fully, with the vital distinction being a filter placed in the later data methods track before entering into working memory. This concept suggests that the devalued awareness of unattended simulation came from counterstatement into the working memory and the controlled generation of responses to it. Norman later developed this concept of Deutsch and Deutsch in 1967, and he added that the strength of input was also a vital factor in its selection. Deutsch and Deutsch are referred to as a late selection concept as it suggests that all the data is analyzed for meaning, either at the time or later.

A criticism of both the concept of Deutsch and Deutsch and the revised concept by Norman is that all the simulations involving those considered irrelevant are fully used. While in the case of Treisman's attenuation concept, the late selection approach appears wasteful with its in-depth methods of all data before selecting data before access into working memory.

The Multimode Model of Attention

Michael Posner and Charles Snyder (1975) support the concept of a "movable filter," which may function at various times in processing depending on the demands of the observer. Data from another research back up what some thought was always the case: that selection might be based on physical or semantic qualities. They discovered, however, that semantic selection has a higher cost—that it demands more attentional resources than physical election. The multimode model of attention is derived from the belief that selection can be based on many modes, such as the physical and the semantic.

The multimode concept is also supported by neurophysiological research. Hillyard, Hink, Schwent, and Picton (1973) investigated when selection occurs using an event-related potential (ERP) approach. The ERP measures electrical activity in the brain in response to the presentation of a stimulus. The researchers had individuals respond to a stimulus from the left ear and compared the activity observed under that circumstance to observable activity connected to an unattended target from the right ear. They saw a fast shift in electrical activity barely 80 milliseconds after the stimulus was delivered, indicating that selection was taking place early in response to perceptual qualities.

Other ERP investigations, however, revealed a shift in electrical activity roughly 300 milliseconds after stimulus initiation, implying a late selection based on task relevance and, possibly, semantic elements. To conclude, the attentional selection is more adaptable than previously thought. It might happen early or late and can be caused by more than one method.


As we have seen, divided attention involves focusing on one thing while disregarding others. Broadbent's sampling rates, Treisman's attenuation prototype, and the Deutsche & Deutsch template are the three main concepts underlying discriminatory perception. There are several hypotheses on how discriminating focus works, but the ability to prioritize some data above others and ignore unnecessary simulation is crucial to everyday life.

Updated on: 21-Nov-2022

2K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started