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AttentionFrom Theory to Practice$
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Arthur F. Kramer, Douglas A. Wiegmann, and Alex Kirlik

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

The Functional Task Environment

The Functional Task Environment

(p.100) Chapter 8 The Functional Task Environment

Wayne D. Gray

Hansjörg Neth

Michael J. Schoelles

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the concept of the functional task environment, which integrates disparate findings that show important differences between the physical task environment and the ways in which humans perceive, think about, and act on the physical world. The productivity of this concept is judged by its success at motivating research that leads to the building of integrated models of cognitive systems. Attention operates within the functional task environment and, at the same time, shapes it. The locus of attention, the cost of shifting attention, and the cost of maintaining attention needs to be understood within the context of the functional task environment. This chapter argues that understanding attention and performance in interactive systems requires a detailed functional analysis of the external resources available to support performance in addition to internal resources. It concludes that it may be most fruitful to consider behavior to be adapted to a task environment comprised of a mix of these internal and external resources.

Keywords:   functional task environment, attention, cognitive systems, external resources, internal resources, behavior, performance, interactive systems

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