Attention to Action: Willed and Automatic Control of Behavior.
Technical rept. Feb 79-Dec 80,
CALIFORNIA UNIV SAN DIEGO LA JOLLA CENTER FOR HUMAN INFORMATION PROCESSING
Pagination or Media Count:
The major theme of the paper is that the primary role of attention is in the control of action. The basic idea is that human action sequences can run themselves off, efficiently, smoothly, without any need for deliberate attention. However, when modifications in a plan must be made, or when it is desired that some novel alternative action sequence be followed, or when it is desired to prevent some habitual act from occurring, then it is necessary for deliberate attentional intervention into the process. We argue that most attentional conflicts occur with the initiation rather than the execution of actions. We suggest two levels of control a contention scheduling mechanism that selects from among competing schemas a supervisory attentional mechanism that biases the selection process. We propose that the supervisory attentional system is required where the action sequences are ill-learned or novel, where the action is highly critical or dangerous, or where planning is required. In other cases, selection is by contention scheduling alone. The result is three modes of the control of performance automatic, contention scheduling without deliberate direction, and deliberate conscious control. Will becomes the application of attentional resources to the control of action. Author