Evaluate Feature Intergration Theory

Evaluate feature integration theory in contrast to earlier models of attention. How well does feature integration theory explain how we attend to objects?

Attention is a process that helps us to concentrate on one element of the environment, filtering out what is not relevant and focussing on specific sensory input.   Anne Treismans Feature Integration Theory (FIT) set out to explain how attention is required to bind/integrate together different features and how without this process the features would appear to be recorded separately.   This essay will evaluate the influential work undertaken by Donald Broadbent on selective attention and the influences that led to Ann Teismans Feature Integration Theory.   It will look consider auditory and visual attention.   It will demonstrate the subject of ‘attention’ is not straightforward and explore serial and parallel processing.   It will analyse some of the different techniques used to support and criticise the different theories of ‘attention’.

Donald Broadbent’s and Anne Treismans theories both suggest bottleneck models of attention.   The vast amount of information being taken in by the senses causes a bottleneck, which restricts the flow of information getting through.   Each try to explain how all of the   incoming information is subject to a certain level of processing before material is selected for attention.
In the early, 1950’s Donald Broadbent was recognised as a major contributor into research of selective attention.   Broadbent’s early research for the UK Ministry of Defence, addressed the problems pilots encountered when trying to listen to an individual message coming in from different interfering stations.   Broadbent devised a technique called dichotic listening.   Participants received a different sound/message to each ear, through headphones.   Results showed if participants attended to a message in one ear, they could not recall any of the other messages to the other ear.   Broadbent’s 1954 Filter Model of...