Imagine scenario 1, a man driving down an essentially empty road, this man ends up gazing straight off into the distance in front of him, and ends up rear ending a car in front of him destroying his bumper.
Now imagine a college student sitting in class gazing at the professor but is thinking of something completely different than what the professor is talking about, something all to many students are guilty of. The professor decides to give a surprise pop quiz and that person fails. Now imagine scenario 3, someone walking down an empty street, it’s late at night. That person sees his forward surrounding but not what’s coming from behind. All of a sudden from the “corner of their eyes in their peripheral vision” (De Haan, B.
, Morgan, P. S., & Rorden, C, 2008), they quickly notice a shady figure emerging from the shadows trying to grab them from behind.
Luckily they noticed just in time to escape. How is it possible that in the first scenario the person was looking straight at the road, yet got into an accident, and in scenario 3 although the person wasn’t looking behind to see who’s following him managed to escape danger? The answer actually lies not in our gaze but actually the type of attention being displayed in our scenarios. Scenarios 1 and 2 can be attributed to overt attention. They turn their head and eyes to look at what’s in front of them but their mind is not actually processing the information that is presented to them, thus leading to their accident/failure (Haan, 2008). Though in scenario 3, although the person wasn’t even looking back he was paying attention to his surrounding and caught the shady character just in time from his peripheral vision and was able see from the “corner of his eye independent of eye movement”. This is known as covert attention and it may have ended up saving their life (Haan, 2008). Overt versus covert attentional shift has been the focus of many psychological studies.
There have been many studies whether these differences in attention use the same brain region and which one uses more neural activity. Posner and Petersen (1990) authors of the attention system of the human brain maintain the belief that overt and covert attention are independent of 1 another and use different regions of the brain. Posner and Petersen called this theory the modular theory of attention.
There was a study that opposes the modular theory off attention and proposes overt and covert attentions are in fact governed by the same set of brain regions they called their theory the premotor theory of attention (Rizzolatti G, Riggio L, Dascola I, Umilta C, 1987). There is an intermediate opinion, which says that, overt and covert attentions might use some common regions of the brain, and some different regions of the brains (Corbetta, 1998). There were also studies whether covert attention or overt attention stimulates more neural activation. In a study done by Beauchamp in 2001, he showed that overt attention had more neural stimulation than covert attention; while in a study done by Corbetta 1998, found the complete opposite where covert attention had more neural stimulation than overt attention.
There were many attempts to explain the different results. Their studies can’t be compared because they were essentially not the same. In Beauchamps study, the experiment was done endogenously which means that the individual had changes in intention, while in Corbetta’s 1998 they were done exogenously which is based on reflex (Haan 2009). In our experiment we will be testing our reaction times based on these overt and covert attentional cues by conducting a cueing task where our eyes will be fixated on a certain point on a computer screen as we perform the experiment. We hypothesize that the consistent trials will have a lower reaction time than the inconsistent trials.
?MethodsParticipantsThe Participants featured in this experiment were the three experimental psychology laboratories in Brooklyn college totaling approximately 63 students. The demographics of the participants is unknown.Materials and Design The main materials used in this experiment was a computer, a psychology program called Psychopy and Microsoft excel. The main purpose of the task was when a cross was displayed on the computer screen; a right or left arrow, which in turn was followed by an asterisk, followed it. The main objective was to press the “m” key whenever the asterisk was displayed on screen.
This would record your reaction time. You must focus on the cross at all times and not let your head turn with the arrows. There are times when the arrows would point in the direction of the asterisk. This is known as a consistent trial and there are instances where the arrows would not point in the direction of the asterisk this is known as your inconsistent trial. There are even times when the asterisk would not even pop up.
The total number of consistent trials 160, inconsistent was about 40 and the number of catch trials was about 20. The whole experiment totaled about 7-10 minutes.Procedure The experimental procedure is as follows.
The fixation cross would display on screen for 680 ms. If you clicked the m key during a fixation cross you get “Press m key when you see *” as a feedback” for about 10ms. The trial presentation which is the cue presentation (present the arrows) last about 600 ms. If you clicked m key during the cue presentation you get “Press m key when you see *” as a feedback. Now for the target, which is the asterisk presentation, lasts about 2700 ms. you would see two types of feedback, “correct with reaction times or incorrect with reaction times”.
There are even times when you would be presented with a blank screen for about 530 ms. Once you are done with the experiment, you must collect your data in an excel file. The only relevant data needed for the experiment with the consistent reaction times, inconstant reaction times and the blank trial.
Copy the relevant data in a new excel sheet and sort the data with each other grouping the consistent trials with each other and the inconsistent trials with each other. Then proceed to take the average of your consistent, and consistent trials. Using all the data from the combined labs, we then performed a t-test and obtained a t- value and p-value to see whether our experiment had any significance.
Results.To quantify our results we performed a T- test. We got a T-score and a p- value.
The T-test allowed us to compare the difference between two different averages and see how similar they are to each other. T tests are very useful in psychology experiments because they can inform us how repeatable our experiment is, and let us know if it happened by chance in a quantifiable manner. The T-test will give us a value and that is known as the t-score.
The T-score is important because it tells us the ratio of the difference between groups and within groups, which is the difference between participants in a group. So a high T-score tells us that that the difference between groups is large. For this particular experiment we received a t-score of 5.
39, which is a relatively large number. This number tells us that the difference between groups is more than 5 times more different than that of within groups. Now with every t-value comes a p-value.
Our p-value is called our significance value and this value ranges from 0-100%, this value tells us the likelihood that our data occurred by chance. So anything less than 0.05 is usually accepted whereas anything greater than 0.05 is usually rejected. This experiment yielded a p-value of less than 0.05.
This is significant because what this tells us is that the likelihood that our results occurred by chance is less than 5%. So our high t-value and low p-value tells us that our data is valid thus our hypothesis cannot be rejected