ERIC Number: ED205562
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Attention to Action: Willed and Automatic Control of Behavior Technical Report No. 8006.
Norman, Donald A.; Shallice, Tim
The major theme of the paper is that the primary role of attention is in the control of action, the basic idea being 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 in order to prevent some habitual act from occurring, it is necessary to insert deliberate attentional intervention into the process. It is argued that most attentional conflicts occur with the initiation rather than the execution of actions. Two levels of control are suggested: a contention scheduling mechanism that selects from among competing schemas; and a supervisory attentional mechanism that biases the selection process. It is proposed 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/GK)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, NY.; Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA. Personnel and Training Research Programs Office.; National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., La Jolla. Center for Human Information Processing.; California Univ., San Diego.