Cue Processing as a Function of Breadth of Attention

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JoAnn Reis California State University Long Beach, CA

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Anne Marie Bird California State University Fullerton, CA

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This two part investigation tested whether or not a self-report measure of broad or narrow attentional style (i.e., the BET and RED subscales of the Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style-TAIS) could predict cue-processing ability on a task that required processing of peripheral cues. In Experiment 1, it was hypothesized that broad attenders would be superior to narrow attenders. Two separate probe techniques were used to measure peripheral cue processing. Results indicated marginal support for the prediction on the first probe and strong support on the second probe. In Experiment 2, subjects received either positive or negative false feedback in an attempt to manipulate level of anxiety and to observe the subsequent effects on the cue-processing ability of broad and narrow attenders. Broad attenders who received positive feedback processed peripheral cues faster than all other subjects. Findings were discussed within the framework of Kahneman's capacity theory of attention and the desirability of employing a precise operational definition of attention within individual difference research.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Anne Marie Bird, Department of Physical Education, California State University, Fullerton, CA 92634.

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