Attention: From History to Application
Modern work on attention began with the development of Donald Broadbent's filter theory. Broadbent's philosophy of experimental design was to eliminate a large class of alternative explanations by a single experiment, not to predict in detail what would happen in real time in real-world tasks. Almost no work captured the richness and, above all, the temporal dynamics of the real world, although Broadbent always emphasized the importance of applied research. Typically, laboratory experiments are not dynamic. They consist of a series of statistically independent trials of fixed duration, with the task specified by the experimenter. Participants play no part in determining what will happen next. The most important aspects of visual attention in the working environment are the strategy and tactics of gaze. This chapter presents two examples of successful quantitative modeling on the assumption of single-channel visual attention: visual attention to radar displays and SPAD (signal passed at danger). It demonstrates how one can develop an analytic model of attention and then verify it with empirical measures of eye movements.
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