Top Down Processes Override Bottom Up Interference Essay

1439 Words Nov 29th, 2016 6 Pages
How well is our brain able to focus and not let distractors get in the way? Through results of flanker tasks, it seems that our brain is not that good with ignoring distractors. This leads to a debate on whether top down processes are used in both targets and interfering distractors in flanker tasks or if bottom up processes are used. In a research article, titled “Top-Down Processes Override Bottom-up Interference in the Flanker Task” by Rotem Avital-Cohen and Yehoshua Tsal, it is clear that one of these theories is more supported by the evidence given. This article goes in to detail about a study done to provide more evidence for top down processing applying to the targets as well as the flanking distractors. An important question that this article tries to answer is what the fundamental differences are between target and distractor processing and the quality of attentional filtering. This article is able to support their claim by using many topics discussed in class lectures.
Cohen and Tsal are hypothesizing in their article that the flanking distractors are being processed top-down. In simple terms, top down processing is when one’s knowledge and expectations can affect perception (Psych 240 lecture, 09/19/16). Cohen and Tsal tested their hypothesis by modifying the flanker task, which is when there are target letters that are flanked by distractors. The original flanker task was set up as a two-choice response. The target letters are the central letters, and can be any…

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