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Perception and Performance

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Practical implications from this study include the promotion of the perceptual load through proper and appealing representation of learning and job tasks to ensure they are performed without distractions. The study proposes research into the impact of unconscious perception of distracting stimuli on a current task being perceived consciously. Perception and Performance One of the questions that psychologists have pondered and debated over a long time is the relationship between awareness and attention. Attention has been traditionally linked with performance, and awareness falls under the interesting studies of consciousness. This brings into focus the concept of perception and its role in determining awareness, and extension, performance. This study focuses on the relationship of perceptual awareness and attention in light of the concept of the perceptual load, establishing how this may impact performance (Beck, 2005). The study finds relevance in consciousness studies due to the aspect of the importance of awareness in determining attention, where inferences may be drawn on how critical consciousness is to attention. The study entails a review of literature generated on the topic, before undertaking a critical evaluation of this literature which then leads to establishing implications. A conclusion is then arrived at based on the findings of the study. Review of Literature A number of investigators have put effort in establishing the role played by perceptual load in determining whether attention impacts awareness and, thus, performance. One of the studies was conducted by Cartwright-Finch and Lavie (2006), who sought to investigate whether focusing attention on a current task would prevent the intrusion of task irrelevant stimuli into a person’s awareness. The scholars argue that the debate on the issue splits psychologists into two groups advocating for early selection and late selection views. In terms of early selection, the argument entails the view that awareness prevents stimuli from reaching perceptual awareness, while the late selection proponents feel that attention has no effect on perceptual awareness. According to the latter view, attention impacts the latter stages after all stimuli has been received, including steps such as selection of response and memory. Cartwright-Finch and Lavie (2006) instead present their own construction involving the perceptual load framework that determines the relationship between attention and awareness and in extension, the actions taken thereafter and, consequently, the performance. The scholars split tasks according to relevance and then argue that attention to the task at hand prevents the perception of task-irrelevant stimuli. However, this only takes place where the task-relevant stimulus is accompanied by very high perceptual load consuming all the available capacity. When this is not the case, the late selection view ensues. Here, the failure of the task-relevant stimuli to occupy all available capacity due to a low perceptual load leads to room in which involuntary perception of task-irrelevant stimuli are perceived. According to the two scholars, the perceptual load of task-relevant stimuli mediates the relationship between attention and awareness and, by extension, the performance in an individual. Thus, perception – determined by the interplay between task-relevant and task -irrelevant stimuli