Kahneman(1973) Model of Attention



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Kahnemanís model of divided attention proposes a model of attention which is based around the idea of mental efforts. This is a description of how demanding the processing of a particular input might be.

Some tasks might be relatively automatic(in that they make few demands in terms of mental effort) despite the fact they have a high information load.


Therefore Kahnemann proposes that

1)Some activities are more demanding(and therefore require more mental effort than others

2)The total available processing capacities may be increased or decreased by other factors such as arousal

3)Several activities can be carried out at the same time , provided that their total effort does not exceed the available capacity

4)Rules or strategies exist which determine allocation of resources to various activities and to various stages of processing. Attentional capacity will therefore reflect the demands made at the perceptual level, the level at which the input is interpreted or committed to memory and the response selection stage



Kahneman thus believes in the existence of a Central Processor which operates a Central Allocation Policy, constantly evaluating the demands made by each task and adjusting attention accordingly.

Critics of this model have suggested that because of our ability to develop skills that it becomes impossible to accurately judge  the limits or capacity of the processing system.

Allport(1980) suggests that interference occurs when similar tasks compete for the same processing mechanisms , yet dissimilar tasks do not create the same level of mutual interference, therefore the individual can accommodate both