Is Attention a Limited Resource?

Is attention a limited resource? Explain why or why not. Your initial response is due by Day 4.

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Attention is a limited resource, as far as awareness is concerned; however, the processing of physical characteristics and even some processing of semantics takes place all of the time below the level of awareness (Willingham, 2007). So, to say that attention is limited is to be speaking about only the awareness phase of attention. The filter that controls what we are aware of and what we are not aware of is apparently moveable, but only in certain circumstances. Most of the time the filter sits just past the phase of stimulus perception where we process physical characteristics. We do have the ability to move the filter to the next level of perception, the processing of semantics if we want to become aware of many stimuli at once. This is very taxing on awareness though, seeing as how we cannot move the filter past semantics and still concentrate heavily on one stimulus-response cycle. For instance, if we were trying to listen to everyone talks in our group at once we might not hear everything that everyone is saying, but we can get the jest of what everyone is saying, up until a point. However, if we are trying to listen to everyone in the group while simultaneously trying to intently listen to an involved story from a close friend some performance is lost. Thoughts…

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Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal. New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall. 

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