Car on asphalt road on autumn day at park. Colored leaves lying under the wheels of the vehicle.

Forced attention, or a state in which a person is so focused on the details of the world around them that they have no mental capacity left to think about anything else.

Attentional blink, or a phenomenon in which people only remember the first and last items in a list of words when they just been shown pictures of them.

Inattentional blindness, or when there are other things going on around you but your brain can’t take note because it’s too busy looking for something more interesting/important/distracting – aka “inattentional blindness.”

Do you know, while driving in the city, the busy urban environment can induce many things, which are discussed here!

A study by researchers at Stanford University has found that while driving in the city, the busy urban environment can induce each of these states.

Here are some points discussed-

1. While driving in the city, the busy urban environment can induce which of the following?

a. Attentional blindness

b. Inattentional blindness

c. A state in which a person is so focused on the details of the world around them that they have no mental capacity left to think about anything else (forced attention)

d. A state in which a person is so focused on the details of the world around them that they have no mental capacity left to think about anything else (forced attention)

e. A state in which people only remember the first and last items in a list of words when they just been shown pictures of them (attentional blink) 

f. A state in which people only remember the first and last items in a list of words when they just been shown pictures of them (attentional blink)

2. What did the researchers at Stanford University do?

a. They asked participants whether they were “going” or “coming” over the course of many trials

b. They studied how people react to words in natural settings and it led them to posit that their findings would hold for drivers too

c. They showed participants pictures of a series of words, a list of words, and a picture and asked them to say whether they had just seen it or not. 

They found that people remembered the last item on the list and the first item on the next one better than they remembered all of the other items in between

d. Find out how long it takes to read a trail of words that change every 60 words

3. Who were some of the people and what did they do?

a. A group of students in grade school performed an attentionally loaded task formula_1, in which they had to read a series of nouns, such as “straight” or “high” or “big,” each accompanied by either an associated word, such as “easy” or “hard,” or a picture, such as a man climbing stairs. They found that their ability to remember the previous item was impaired when the next item was harder for them to process.

b. A group of researchers from Stanford University showed that not only are people less likely to notice a car speeding past them at 6 mph in the city, but their brains notice it too

c. The researchers measure attention by asking participants to perform anagrams on a computer

d. Participants were shown words in an alternating sequence on a screen for six seconds and had fifteen seconds to give their response.

e. The participants would perform the task while being seated behind the wheel of a car under various traffic conditions, while they were sitting still in the office, or while they were walking through the city. 

4. What does the work tell us about attention and city driving? 

a. The authors believe that the diverted attention caused by looking out for cars at higher speeds may be responsible for this phenomenon, as well as why some drivers hit pedestrians crossing the street without seeing them

b. The authors believe that the findings show that it’s not only that city drivers are less likely to notice other cars but their brains notice it too, which is most likely a byproduct of the high speeds of city driving, as well as the distractions of traffic and construction.

c. The authors believe that the findings show how important it is for people to be concentrated while driving in urban areas, as well as how attentional resources can be limited when they should otherwise be focusing on something else

d. The researchers contend that the distraction caused by looking out for cars and other vehicles is so severe that many drivers don’t even see pedestrians crossing 

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