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ERIC Number: EJ875644
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
How Planful Is Routine Behavior? A Selective-Attention Model of Performance in the Tower of Hanoi
Patsenko, Elena G.; Altmann, Erik M.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v139 n1 p95-116 Feb 2010
Routine human behavior has often been attributed to plans--mental representations of sequences goals and actions--but can also be attributed to more opportunistic interactions of mind and a structured environment. This study asks whether performance on a task traditionally analyzed in terms of plans can be better understood from a "situated" (or "embodied") perspective. A saccade-contingent display-updating paradigm is used to change the environment by adding, deleting, and moving task-relevant objects without participants' direct awareness. Response latencies, action patterns, and eye movements all indicate that performance is guided not by plans stored in memory but by a control routine bound to objects as needed by perception and selective attention. The results have implications for interpreting everyday task performance and particular neuropsychological deficits. (Contains 12 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A