The Broadbent rigid filter model

How do we handle information? On what does it depend that we choose one stimulus and not others? How can we respond to just one stimulus among many?

From basic psychology, many authors have focused on the processes of attention, proposing theoretical models. Today we will meet one of them, the Broadbent rigid filter model.

To do this, let’s start by looking at the attention filter models, to which Donlad Broadbent’s one belongs.

    Attention filter models

    Attention filter models focus on the concept of filtering. It consists of choose a fragment of the sensory flow and give it access to the central processing channel, While the rest is lost (selective attention).

    There are two types of filter models, which are as follows.

    Precategory Filter Templates

    The Broadbent rigid filter model belongs to this type. In these models the selection of information is early, that is to say the attentional mechanism operates in the initial stages of treatment.

    The process consists of a sensory recording (which is performed in parallel, and where the physical characteristics of the stimulus are analyzed), the appearance of the filter (which selects the information it serves) and finally the appearance of a single channel. central where the stimulus is semantically processed (serial).

    In these models, only correctly processed information is processed at the semantic level.

    Category filter templates

    Here the selection of information is late, that is to say the attentional mechanism operates later than in the first.

    In these models, there is a sensory warehouse which includes an analysis system (processing of physical and semantic characteristics in parallel and automatically / passively). Then the filter appears, which collects all the signals and selects them.

    The next element is short term memory or central attention mechanism, which actively and consciously analyzes the message (it is a controlled process, consuming attentional resources).

    In these models, unlike the previous ones, all information is processed at the physical and semantic level.

      The Broadbent rigid filter model

      This is a pre-categorical filter model, where the filter goes before semantic analysis. In other words, the stimuli appear first, which will be stored in sensory memory. Then the filter would act, which would select the information.

      This would be stored in short-term memory (a channel of limited capacity), and eventually some information would pass into long-term memory (between these two elements, the subject’s responses to stimulation will appear).

      Here, something similar to the “law of all or nothing” would apply, ie information passes or does not pass (a message is processed each time).

      Features of the Broadbent Rigid Model

      The processing would be carried out in parallel at the peripheral level.

      Sensory memory temporarily stores information. The filter it lifts up is rigid and selective, as it picks up a fragment of the sensory flow and gives it access to the central channel, while the rest of the irrelevant information is lost (this happens to avoid central channel overload caused by multiple sensory channels.).

      At the central level, a categorical or semantic analysis of the information is carried out, i.e. sequential treatment is given and the channel has limited capacity.

      Broadbent filter characteristics

      It is a rigid filter, an “all or nothing” device. Selection of information is based on physical characteristics of stimuli whatever the meaning of the messages. The semantic processing will be carried out later.

      On the other hand, the probability that a message is selected or not will depend on the properties of the stimuli (spatial location, intensity, speed of presentation, sensory modality, etc.) and on the state of the organism.

      the filter you can only focus on one channel or one message at a time, And its transition is two seconds.

      The Deutsch and Deutsch Early Selection Model

      It is important to distinguish between the Broadbent rigid filter model and the Deutsch and Deutsch early selection model. The latter, unlike the rigid Broadbent model (precategory), is a post-categorical filter model.

      In this case, we consider the following: how is it possible to select one entry among several without analyzing them all? So you can decide which of the stimuli is relevant some degree of analysis is required.

      In addition, in this case, there is data resulting from the preselection semantic analysis, which is managed by the analyzer.

      Once the stimuli have been received, they are stored in the sensory warehouse. Subsequently, an analyzer acts before the filter, and the filter will transfer the information to short-term memory (MCP).

      Finally, MCP is transferred to long-term memory (and, as in the Broadbent model, responses will appear between these two memories, when transferring from one to the other).

      In other words, the most important difference from Broadbent’s rigid filter model is that in Deutsch and Deutsche there is an analyzer that acts before the filter.

      Bibliographical references:

      • García, J. (1997) Psychology of attention. Synthesis. Madrid.
      • Munar, E., Rosselló, J. and Sánchez-Cabaco, A. (1999). Attention and perception. Alliance. Madrid.

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