Altmann and Gray, 1999

Altmann, E. M. & Gray, W. D. (1999). Twenty first annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 25-30). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Serial Attention as Strategic Memory

Serial attention is the process of focussing mentally on one item at a time. This process has two phases: attention switching and attention maintenance. Attention switching involves rapidly building up the activation of a new item to dominate old items. Attention maintenance involves letting the current item decay while in use to prevent it from intruding on the next item later on. SASM, a model based on this analysis, suggests that this balance of high initial activation followed by gradual decay reflects a strategic adaptation to task demands on one hand and principles of memory on the other. The model makes novel and accurate predictions about response times and error rates, integrates past use and current context as memory activation sources, and integrates attention switching and attention maintenance into one unified account.

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