Internal Consistency of the Concept of Automaticity

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While attention theorists have examined the internal consistency of the concept of automaticity by asking how attentional demands covary with intentional control, the relationship between attention demands and awareness is not clear. The current experiments used the internal consistency of two-process models of attention as a null hypothesis, and considered the functional relationship between controlled and automatic processes. Three experiments manipulated subjects' awareness and knowledge, and related these manipulations to aspects of performance traditionally considered to be controlled or automatic. It was found that variations in awareness and knowledge were not related to processes that have traditionally been considered controlled. Manipulations of subjects' awareness or knowledge consistently affected how they executed their movements, suggesting executive processes such as awareness, are coordinated with automatic processes such as movement execution. It was recommended that theoretical models of automaticity consider how automatic processes are coordinated with controlled processes. © 1988 Elsevier Science & Technology.




Phillips, J. G., & Hughes, B. G. (1988). Internal Consistency of the Concept of Automaticity. Advances in Psychology, 55(C), 317–331.

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