The article “Perception and Attention II” introduces readers to the concepts of sensory buffers and the hierarchy of needs which apparently dictate the inclusion of specific types of information when it come to an individual focusing attention on a particular activity or on an observable event that captures their interest. Overall, the paper attempts to explain the phenomena of why specific portions of information can be internalized by the human mind through auditory and visual means through the utilization of a variety of theories which focus on the concept of limitation. It is heavily implied throughout the article that the human mind has certain limitations. Whether in the form of processing auditory and visual stimuli through the senses or the motivation of an individual to internalize such information via the mind itself can be attributed as the primary reasons as to why certain aspects of auditory and visual information are “lost” despite an individual being in the appropriate time and place to be able to internalize such information. It is through such processes that the concept of executive functioning is analyzed and presented to readers in such a way that it is broken down into its individual parts.
When examining the nature of the multi-agent system (i.e. processes in the brain) that is presented within the article, there are a few factors that needed to be taken into consideration. The first is the fact that humans have complex internal systems of memory which to this day are still not completely understood. As such, due to the complexity of the connections between various agents within the brain due to aspects related to connectivity and control this theoretically results in the complex functions seen in the variety of cognitive representations in modern day studies on human brain activity today (Baddeley et al., 2011). One of the inherent problems with the theories presented within the paper is the fact that they neglect to indicate whether there is either a decentralized or a centralized decision making process that results in what is known as attention. The reason such an aspect is important is due to necessity of knowing whether specific processes within the brain result in certain types of attention obtaining primacy over others (Sörqvist & Rönnberg, 2012). If it is a centralized system this would explain the degree of control we have over what we pay attention to. On the other hand, if it is a decentralized system where individual “agents of the mind” are responsible for attention. This would explain why people, despite paying attention to a certain observable event, are still able to internalize other aspects of the world around them in their immediate periphery (Repovs & Baddeley, 2006). Realizing how such a system works on the issue of primacy of internal agents of memory and attention would go a long way towards developing a greater understanding on how the process of observation and internalization result in what we now perceive as attention. All in all, I do agree with the notion presented within the paper that one of the main reasons behind what we know of as attention is the limitations of the mind in processing information. In support of such a notion is the Ericsson and Kintsch (1995) model which explains that all individuals utilize skilled memory in everyday tasks, however, most these memories are stored in long term memory and then subsequently retrieved through various forms of retrieval mechanisms (Gobet, 2000). Ericsson and Kintsch explain that it would be impossible to “hold” so to speak all memories within our working memory, rather, what occurs is that individuals hold only a few concepts related to a task within their working memory and then use those as indicators to retrieve the information from long term memory (Licata, 2009). This I believe shows how attention works wherein what an individual is capable of internalizing is based on the primacy of the action along with the amount of information being presented.
Baddeley, A. D., Allen, R. J., & Hitch, G. J. (2011). Binding in visual working memory: The role of the episodic buffer. Neuropsychologia, 49(6), 1393-1400.
Gobet, F. (2000). Retrieval structures and schemata: A brief reply to Ericsson and Kintsch. British Journal Of Psychology, 91(4), 591.
Licata, I. (2009). A Dynamical Model for Information Retrieval and Emergence of Scale-Free Clusters in a Long Term Memory Network. Emergence: Complexity & Organization, 11(1), 48-57.
Repovs, G. G., & Baddeley, A. A. (2006). The multi-component model of working memory: Explorations in experimental cognitive psychology. Neuroscience, 139(1), 5-21.
Sörqvist, P., & Rönnberg, J. (2012). Episodic Long-Term Memory of Spoken Discourse Masked by Speech: What Is the Role for Working Memory Capacity?. Journal Of Speech, Language & Hearing Research, 55(1), 210-218.