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Automatic Processing: A Review of Recent Findings and a Plea for an Old Theory

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Cognition and Motor Processes

Abstract

The rediscovery of the old distinction between automatic and consciously controlled mental processes has been one of the major developments in attentional theory during the last decade. According to the “two process” approach (e.g., LaBerge & Samuels, 1974; Neumann, Note 1; Posner & Snyder, 1975a; Shiffrin & Schneider, 1977), mental operations can function in two different modes. Processes in the first mode occur as a passive consequence of stimulation and take place in a parallel, capacity-free manner, whereas processes in the second mode are controlled by the person’s conscious intentions and are subject to capacity limitations. This distinction has stimulated a wealth of research, some of which has been summarized by LaBerge (1981) and Posner (1978, 1982). The present paper reviews part of these recent findings on automaticity in an attempt to answer two questions: First, what are the functional properties of automatic as opposed to non-automatic processes? Second, what kind of theory is suited to explain these properties?

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References

Reference Notes

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Neumann, O. (1984). Automatic Processing: A Review of Recent Findings and a Plea for an Old Theory. In: Prinz, W., Sanders, A.F. (eds) Cognition and Motor Processes. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-69382-3_17

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