Automatic and controlled attention processes in auditory target detection.
- PubMed: 6460083
Shiffrin and Schneider proposed a general theory of attention that postulates the existence of automatic and controlled search processes. They concluded that automatic processes develop when the mapping between stimuli and responses is consistent and controlled processing occurs when the mapping is varied. The effects of consistent and varied mapping were examined in an auditory target detection task. Subjects listened for one or three target letters embedded in a stream of dichotic letter pairs. Subjects responded faster and made fewer errors under the consistent mapping (CM) condition than under the varied mapping (VM) condition, and the effect of memory set size decreased over practice in the CM condition but not the VM condition. The results are discussed in terms of automatic and controlled processes involved in recognition of target stimuli. A review of research on auditory target detection suggests that the development of automatic processes may account for some apparent discrepancies in the literature.