Electronproton Theory


ELICITED OBSERVING RATE HYPOTHESIS. This conjecture describes the complex relation between observing activity, decision processes, and vigilance in sustained attention tasks. This hypothesis attempts, also, to formulate the issue of vigilance within the framework of signal detection theory. The elicited observing rate hypothesis makes the assumption that during vigilance activities (e.g., a sailor's monitoring a sonar screen to detect enemy submarines) the observer constantly makes sequential decisions as to emit or not to emit an observing response toward a display that is being monitored. In general terms, observing responses are termed unitary attentive acts and may involve "internal" mes sage selection by the central nervous system. The hypothesis states that signal detection failures (e.g., an enemy sub was present, but the sailor didn't see or hear it) occur when the individual does not emit the observing responses and, also, proposes that the effort involved in observing has a quantifiable energy "cost" where decisions to observe or not to observe are based on their utility (i.e., the "cost" of observing relative to the "reward" of correct signal detection). Poor vigilance, according to the hypothesis, results from the decrement in quality and quantity of elicited observing behavior over a period of time and where factors such as fatigue and low motivation account for the high "costs" of the observing activity. Definitive tests of the elicited observing rate hypothesis are difficult because of the imprecise specification of the nature of the "internal" observing mechanism. See also ATTENTION, LAWS/PRINCIPLES/THEORIES OF; DECISION-MAKING THEORIES; SIGNAL DETECTION, THEORY OF; UTILITY THEORY; VIGILANCE, THEORIES OF. REFERENCES

Baker, C. (1960). Observing behavior in a vigilance task. Science, 132, 674675.

Jerison, H., & Pickett, R. (1964). Vigilance: The importance of the elicited observing rate. Science, 143, 970-971. Jerison, H. (1970). Vigilance, discrimination, and attention. In D. Mostofsky (Ed.), Attention: Contemporary theory and analysis. New York: Apple-ton-Century-Crofts. Jerison, H. (1977). Vigilance, biology, psychology, theory, and practice. In R. Mackie (Ed.), Vigilance: Theory, operational performance, and physiological correlates. New York: Plenum.

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How To Win Your War Against Anxiety Disorders

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