Attention and Memory: An Integrated Framework

Overview

For decades, the fundamental processes underlying memory and attention have been understood within an "information processing" framework in which information passes from one processing stage to another, leading eventually to a response. More recently, however, the attempt to build a general theoretical framework for information processing has been largely supplanted in favor of two more recent approaches: parallel/connectionist models of processing and direct investigations of brain function. In Attention and ...

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Attention and Memory: An Integrated Framework

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Overview

For decades, the fundamental processes underlying memory and attention have been understood within an "information processing" framework in which information passes from one processing stage to another, leading eventually to a response. More recently, however, the attempt to build a general theoretical framework for information processing has been largely supplanted in favor of two more recent approaches: parallel/connectionist models of processing and direct investigations of brain function. In Attention and Memory, cognitive psychologist Nelson Cowan reconciles theoretical conflicts in the literature to presents an important, analytical update of the traditional information-processing approach by modifying it to incorporate the last few decades of research on memory, attention, and brain functioning. Throughout, the author cogently considers and ultimately refutes recent challenges to the fundamental assumption of the existence of special short-term memory and selective attention faculties. He also draws a new distinction between memory processes operating inside and outside of the focus of attention. Coherent and balanced, the book offers a clearer understanding of how memory and attention operate together, and how both functions are produced by brain processes. It will be welcomed by students and researchers in cognitive psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Students and researchers. . .intrigued by the continuing debates over memory and attention models and their neurological interface will find this a thoughtful and timely work." —Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195119107
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/1998
  • Series: Oxford Psychology Series , #26
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Missouri-Columbia
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction: Modeling Memory and Attention 3
1.1 The fundamental relation between memory and attention 5
1.2 The emergence of memory and attention in modern psychology 6
1.3 Modeling the processing of information 9
1.4 The model of Cowan (1988) 24
1.5 A comparison of Cowan (1988) with other modeling approaches 32
1.6 Key issues regarding memory and attention 40
2 Sensory Memory Persistence 49
2.1 Sensory memory in current cognitive psychology 50
2.2 Definition and distinguishing features of sensory memory 53
2.3 Types of sensory memory and their durations 56
2.4 Uses of sensory memory 66
2.5 Neural representation of sensory memory 70
2.6 Challenges to the concept of sensory memory 75
3 Memory Activation and Attentional Focusing 77
3.1 A brief history of short-term memory concepts 77
3.2 Short-term memory limits according to cognitive psychology 79
3.3 Cowan's (1988) conception of short-term memory 93
3.4 Some unresolved issues in the Cowan (1988) approach 100
3.5 Neurophysiology of short-term memory 109
4 Actual Versus "Virtual" Short-Term Memory Phenomena 111
4.1 A challenge to multiple-store accounts 112
4.2 Arguments against the monistic view 118
4.3 Where do we search for short-term memory? 131
4.4 Refrain: what is short-term memory? 133
5 Attention Filtering and Orienting 137
5.1 The problem of attentional filtering 137
5.2 Habituation of orienting as a selective filter 140
5.3 Evidence linking orienting and selective attention 143
5.4 Some unresolved issues related to the habituation hypothesis 162
6 Attention and Long-Term Memory 167
6.1 Dissociations between direct and indirect memory measures 167
6.2 The importance of attention for long-term memory 171
6.3 Dissociation of automatic and attention-related factors 179
6.4 Separate or embedded memory processes? 182
6.5 Specific mechanisms of attention in memory storage and retrieval 189
6.6 Automaticity, attention, and long-term memory 192
6.7 A reassessment of attention and memory in Cowan's (1988) model 198
7 Attentional Focus and Conscious Awareness 200
7.1 The concept of a unitary focus of attention 202
7.2 The challenge from cognitive science: multiple resources 205
7.3 The challenge from psychology at large: dissociated states and awareness 225
7.4 The challenge from philosophy of mind: multiple perceptual drafts 232
7.5 Response to challenges to a unified view of attention and awareness: a summary 239
8 Concluding Observations, with Steps Toward Neuroscience 241
8.1 Relationships between memory and attention 242
8.2 Some directions for further work 246
8.3 Toward a neuroscience of memory and attention 248
8.4 Some observations about the future: on the changing relation between brain research and cognition 272
References 275
Author Index 309
Subject Index 317
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