As you shift your attention from one thing of interest to another, a gap in attention called attentional blink occurs in your awareness of the world. It lasts for about half a second, so we barely notice it. The shocking, interesting, or emotionally stimulating event is the more likely we will lose peripheral awareness of anything else outside that event for longer. This phenomenon occurs because our brain has limited attentional resources. If you have ever tried to focus on multiple things at once, and you know you have if you are an active citizen of our modern society. You likely discovered you could not completely hold full attention to all the multi-tasked tasks. You might even have noticed that some things could not be consciously tracked well as you were multitasking and simply slipped right past you unnoticed. This cognitive factor is not often trained by most and yet plays a part in every action we do in society. Everything from following a magic trick, being convinced, hypnotized, and is actionable as we go through the tasks of our day. Just think about driving on a rainy day and talking on the phone or walking across the street as you text on your phone. Sometimes the attentional blink can cost us our life.
A large function of our cognitive energy is subconsciously directed to repress or ignore irrelevant stimulation even as another part of our mind observes the relevant event that caused our attention to be captured. Both of these cognitive mechanisms move information in order to ignore and recognize them with our conscious mind. That cognitive processing and communication takes energy but can be trained by meditation, trance, and cognitive exercises. Cognitive exercises today usually means being trained and ranked by software and if you would like to test your attentional blink rate try this demo. https://www.psytoolkit.org/experiment-library/experiment_ab.html If you enjoyed that demonstration try the visual search demonstration.
Visual search is a type of perceptual task requiring attention that typically involves an active scan of the visual environment for a particular object or feature (the target) among other objects or features (the distractors). Visual search can take place with or without eye movements. The ability to consciously locate an object or target among a complex array of stimuli has been extensively studied over the past 40 years. Practical examples of using visual search can be seen in everyday life, such as when one is picking out a product on a supermarket shelf, when animals are searching for food among piles of leaves, when trying to find a friend in a large crowd of people, or simply when playing visual search games such as Where's Waldo. https://www.psytoolkit.org/experiment-library/experiment_search.html
Allow me to share what this test would be like should you not have the time to go through it yourself. A demonstration of attentional blink may present a series of letters and numbers that are flashed on a screen in a rapid sequence. The viewer is asked to look for a specific pair of items, such as the number 2 and 7 and press a button when they spot the target numbers. Most of the time observers will fail to notice the second target when it occurs after the first one. This exercise demonstrates how focusing on the first target depletes the cognitive resources and essentially documenting that the observer was blind to the second target in the flashing sequence. There are a few different theories that seek to explain the attentional blink.
Inhibition theory posits that perceptual confusion occurs during the process of identifying targets, resulting in an attention gap. The brain is basically engaging in a consistent matching game to identify stimulus against learned details every time. Interference theory posits that when different things competing for our attention, we may end up focusing on the wrong target. Basically, our subconscious mind spends a little extra time and energy deciding if this is something it should let through its filters so the conscious mind will perceive it. The two-stage processing theory posits that attentional processing is a series of cognitive processes that encompasses two different stages. The first stage involves noticing the targets and the second involves actually processing the targets so that they can be recognized consciously. While these demonstrations of attentional blink on a computer involve rapid visual presentations in a simulated setting, this phenomenon does influence how you experience events in the real world. Influencing your experience of events means it’s also influencing how you perceive stimulus around you, thoughts responding to that respective stimulus, and reality itself.
Your work with hypnosis, trance, and influence, in general, will assist you in spotting these occurrences and perhaps drive you to improve your cognitive abilities.
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Joseph W Crown
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