COURSE: COGNITIVE PRACTICALS.
COURSE CODE: PSYCH 449.
ASSIGNMENT: A REPORT ON A COGNITIVE PRACTICAL: SEX AND MODALITY IN DIVIDED ATTENTION.
DATE OF SUBMISSION: 23RD NOVEMBER, 2018
EFFECTS OF SEX AND MODALITY IN DIVIDED ATTENTION TASK.
This study was designed to know the effects of sex and modality in the divided attention task. The participants were the University of Ghana level 400 psychology students. Both the main and city campuses. There was a control group and two experimental groups (EG 1 and EG 2).Two hundred and ten students were sampled for the study. Seventy students were randomly assigned to each of the three groups. Participants in the control group were presented with 25 study lists and were asked to recall the words. The participants in EG 1 did the same as those in the control group and at the same time listened to a recorded conversation and were asked to recall the list of words after answering 10 recorded conversations. Participants that ware in EG 2, did multi-task within the same visual mode. The results showed that, those in the single task group did significantly better on recall than those that ware in the multi-task (dual task across and within modalities). There was no sex differences in dual task across modality. There was no interaction between sex and modality in recall.
This study was conducted to look at the sex and modality in divided attention task. The study looked at an aspect in cognitive psychology known as divided attention. Divided attention is defined as being able to focus mentally on two or more totally different things at the same time. One can be attending to a particular thing, but when a subject of relevance to the individual is mentioned in another area, the person tends to focus their attention on that too. As in the case of the ‘Cocktail Party Phenomenon’ a modern study of attention which was proposed by a researcher known as Colin Cherry in the year 1953. The area of attention has been studied by quite a number of people. I will look briefly at some of the studies that were conducted in this area. To begin with, Pashler, H. (1990) conducted a study in this area. He looked at modality effects on divided attention. He then wrote a journal after the study. He made mention that dual- task interference is greatly reduced when tasks requiring different types of responses example manual and vocal are combined (Pashler, 1990). The order of study was predictably varied. He conducted three experiments. In experiment one and two, thirty- three undergraduates participated, variable stimulus increased greatly between the two manual tasks whereas interference between the manual task and the vocal task was only slightly increased. In experiment three, twelve undergraduates participated. At the end of the study, they demonstrated that errors could be provoked with speed test. Together, these results reconcile response modality effects with the response selection bottleneck model for dual- task interference (Pashler, 1990). The second study was on ageing and task difficulty on divided attention performance. It was conducted by McDowd, J.M and Craik, F.I.M (1998). They then wrote a journal on it. Two experiments were compared on the performance of young and old adults on perceptual- motor tasks involving divided attention. Older studies proved that the older adults could not do well in dived attention but this study was an exception. This study proved that age was not the reason why older adults could not do well in divided attention task but the cognitive aspect was taken into consideration. Older adults who had good cognitive functioning, where did well in the divided attention task. In turn, age differences have been exaggerated as task are made complex. In yet another study, Anne, S. Berry, Xu Li, Ziyong Lin, and Cindy Lustig looked at ‘shared and distinct factors driving attention and temporal processing across modalities. In cognitive models of temporal processing, these modality difference are explained by posting that, auditory stimuli more automatically capture and hold attention more efficiently closing an attentional switch that allows the accumulation of the pulse marking the passage of time (Block and Zackey, 1997; Meck, 1991; Penney, 2002). Final analysis of data included thirty- two participants who performed the visual test. Sixteen were female with a mean age of 18.63years and their ages ranging from eighteen to twenty- one years. Also there were other thirty- two participants who performed the auditory test. Nineteen females with a mean age of 18.84 and their ages ranging from eighteen to twenty- two years. The population was the University of Michigan and the sample was from its introductory psychology subject class. Participants were randomly assigned to the visual and auditory condition. The overall structure of the task was the same for both modalities. The findings replicate classic modality effects in interval timing and replicate new data that may help make clear how different aspects of attention do or- do not play a role in such effects. ‘Everybody knows what attention is ‘has wide renown, but few people are familiar with his discussion of the different varieties of attention and their roles in cognitive function (James, 1890/1983). In another study, a continuous visual task was administered to a group of drivers. In all. They were 24 healthy men of which 12 were young adults and the other twelve were old adults. Their mean ages were 26.1years and 64.4years respectively. Both groups were experienced and currently active drivers. The first task had to do with a three dimensional road display on which a compensatory lane- tracking task had to be performed. The second task was a visual analysis task. The task involved either a vocal or manual response to dot patterns projected within the road display. At the end of the task, it was found that the older adults showed a significant decrease in divided attention as compared to the young adults who did better. Spence, Ranson, ; Driver (2000), performed experiments on shadowing and non- shadowing of pictures and diagrams from behind and in front of them. Results of one of the experiments showed that, the auditory image task impaired detection of the auditory signals more than did the visual task. The auditory image was more disrupting.
AIMS OF THE STUDY The aims of the study are as follows: 1) To examine dual task effects within and across modalities.
2) To examine gender related differences on dual task.
STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES SUGGESTED.
H1. Females will perform significantly better in (Experiment group 1) across modality task than males.
(H2). Single task group (control) will perform better than dual task across modality.
H3. Performance will be better in Visual/audio group (Experiment group 1) than Visual/Visual group (Experiment group II).
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
The sex refers to the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles. Also refers to the gender of the individual.
Across modality: refers to the different groups involved in the study
Within modality: refers to the same group. Divided attention refers being able to focus on a particular thing and another at the same time. This allows the individual to allocate some focus to two or more things at the same time.
The design was an Independent group experimental design (between-subject) with 3 independent randomized groups performing 3 different tasks. Each group was assigned a single task condition.
Two set of lists were provided
Study list (source memory) (25 randomly generated English words)
Recall list (50 words. Half of the words were masking words- homophones)
The participants were the level 400 psychology students of the University of Ghana. Both the main campus and the city campus. The independent groups of the experiment consisted a control group and two experimental groups. Participants were randomly assigned to the three groups. The laptops were used in conducting the experiment. There were three different rooms which signified the two experimental groups and the control groups. Participants were assigned randomly to each group. Each of the participants did not know which group they were in until after the experiment when we were debriefed.
Control group: the control group was assigned a single task condition (visual). The participants were presented with a 25 list of words also known as the study list through projection. There was an inter stimulus interval which was one word per second. After the presentation of the study list a 50 recall list was presented at one word per two seconds. On scoring the words in the study list were written down.
Experimental group 1: the first experimental group were assigned the Across Modality condition. It was a visual and audio task. The same task that was conducted in the control group was done in this group and at the same time the participants listened to a recorded conversation which was an auditory task. In scoring, the participants were asked to recall the 25 study words out of the 50 after answering 10 questions from recorded conversation.
Experimental group II: the second experimental group was assigned the Within Modality condition. It was a visual/visual task. The same task conducted in the control group was performed here as well in addition to the reading fluency task which was the second visual task. This is multi task within the same visual mode. The maximum score was 25. This score was based on correct responses by the participants. Higher scores indicated better performance on the recall test.
CONTROL AND EXPERIMENTAL GROUP MANIPULATION
In the control group, 25 randomly selected English words were presented as a study list (source memory). Immediately after the presentation, 25 homonyms were added to the source list randomly and the subject was to determine which the homonyms was part of the study list. The experimenter scored the responses.
In the first experimental group, the listening comprehension task was carried out simultaneously with learning of the 25 study list. The passage was a paragraph taken from the book “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achibe. This was an audio recording played and listened to by the subjects at the same time as he learned the study words. After the multi task, the participants responded to 10 sample questions from the passage which was used as a rehearsal prevention. The score was taken by the experimenter.
In the second experimental group, there was a reading fluency task. The study list of 25 words were visually presented using Microsoft power point. At the same time as the words were projected, 25 simple yes and no questions were also projected on the other half of the computer screen. At the end of the projection, the participants recalled the list in the study. On scoring, the inter- stimulus interval for presentation was one word per second and recall was one word per two seconds. The 50 recall list was projected one after the other and the participants had to respond yes and no if any of the recall words was part of the study list (source memory). The experimenter recorded the responses which was similar for all groups. The correct responses was marked over 25.
In table 1 below, which is the descriptive, participants in the control condition performed better than all the other conditions with the highest mean of (M=18.10, SD=3.33) where males had (M=17.77, SD=3.23) and females (M=18.36, SD=3.42). It was followed by participants within EG 1 with a mean of (M=12.00, SD=4.17) where male had (M=13.06, SD=3.78) and females (M=11.15, SD=4.33). EG 2 got the least mean of (M=14.58, SD=4.76) where males got (M=13.32, SD=4.95) and females (M=14.58, SD=4.64). To be sure of the differences, the two- way ANOVA table was used and displayed.
Performance Sex Modality N Mean Std. Deviation
Males Control Group 31 17.7742 3.23223
EG1 31 13.0645 3.77655
EG2 25 13.3200 4.94739
Total 87 14.8161 4.51233
Females Control Group 39 18.3590 3.42197
EG1 39 11.1538 4.32580
EG2 45 14.5778 4.64410
Total 123 14.6911 5.05564
Total Control Group 70 18.1000 3.32818
EG1 70 12.0000 4.17376
EG2 70 14.1286 4.75767
Total 210 14.7429 4.82721
Two- way ANOVA
Tests of Between-Subjects Effects
Dependent Variable:Performance Source Type III Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Corrected Model 1436.355a 5 287.271 17.067 .000
Intercept 43747.460 1 43747.460 2.599E3 .000
Sex .026 1 .026 .002 .969
Modality 1282.865 2 641.433 38.108 .000
Sex * Modality 94.241 2 47.120 2.799 .063
Error 3433.759 204 16.832 Total 50514.000 210 Corrected Total 4870.114 209 a. R Squared = .295 (Adjusted R Squared = .278) In the ANOVA table above, there was a significant difference between the study conditions and the memory recall.
H1: from the results it was shown that, no significant difference exist between males (N=31, M=13.06, SD= 3.78) and females (N=39, M=11.15, SD= 4.33) with regards to dual across modality.
The graph displayed above, the modality was significant with regards to recall. Thus control group (single task) had the highest score and did better on recall than those who were in EG 2 (within modality task). The least mean score was participants in EG 1 (across modality). Sex was not significant in the dual task across modality. As indicated in the graph, there was no significant interaction between sex and modality effects in divided attention.
This study explored the effect of sex and modality in divided attention. It was discovered that participants who conducted a single task performed better than those who performed dual task at the same time since modality was significant. Sex differences was found to be insignificant across modality. The finding is consistent with Pashler, H (1990) Human perception and performance. He mentioned that dual task is greatly reduced. And a person receives a stimulus that is of importance to him. The outcome of the study is in accordance with Spence, Ranson, and Driver who conducted some experiments on shadowing and non- shadowing. Results showed that, the auditory image task impaired detection of auditory signals more than the visual task.
LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS A limitation of the study was the noise produced by the students during the research. This made some of the students unserious. I recommend that the noise rate should be curbed. In conclusion, the participants in the single task group which is the control group did better than those who performed two tasks. Again sex was insignificant.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Anne, S. B. (2014, March 01). Acta Psychol. Shared and distant factors driving attention and temporal processing across modalities., pp. 147: 42- 50.
McDowd, J. ;. (1988). Effects of aging and task difficulty on divided attention performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 14(2), 267- 280.
Pashler, H. (1990). Do response modality effects support multiprocessor models of divided attention? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 16(4), 826- 842.
PSYBLOG. (2009, March 12). The Cocktail Party Effect. London, United Kingdom.
Spence, C. ;. (2000). Cross- modal selective attention on the difficulty of ignoring sounds at the locus of visual attention. Perception ; psychophysics, 62(2), 410- 424.
Wiebo H. Brouwer, W. W. (1991). Divided attention in experienced young and older drivers: lane tracking and visual analysis in a dynamic driving simulator. Human factors, 33(5), 573- 582.
(I) Modality (J) Modality Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
Control Group EG1 6.1000* .69348 .000 4.7327 7.4673
EG2 3.9714* .69348 .000 2.6041 5.3387
EG1 Control Group -6.1000* .69348 .000 -7.4673 -4.7327
EG2 -2.1286* .69348 .002 -3.4959 -.7613
EG2 Control Group -3.9714* .69348 .000 -5.3387 -2.6041
EG1 2.1286* .69348 .002 .7613 3.4959
Based on observed means.
The error term is Mean Square(Error) = 16.832. *. The mean difference is significant at the 0.05 level. Raw Data
Control (Visual) Audio ; Visual Visual ; Visual
Control Grp Sex Score Exp GRP 1 Sex Score Exp Grp II Sex Score
1 F 21 1 F 6 1 M 7
2 M 15 2 F 9 2 F 11
3 M 18 3 F 13 3 F 19
4 M 9 4 M 14 4 F 13
5 M 19 5 M 16 5 F 14
6 M 20 6 F 16 6 F 19
7 M 18 7 F 20 7 F 17
8 M 18 8 F 2 8 M 21
9 F 18 9 F 1 9 F 18
10 F 19 10 F 12 10 F 10
11 F 19 11 F 8 11 F 21
12 M 20 12 F 8 12 M 10
13 F 20 13 M 12 13 M 6
14 M 16 14 F 11 14 F 18
15 F 19 15 F 9 15 M 19
16 M 14 16 M 13 16 M 14
17 F 18 17 M 5 17 M 19