Note:  You are supposed to ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS … not just one.

We will not have covered some of these topics in class or in readings before this exam is due. You may need to read on-line resources from the web and from journal articles to help you answer the questions.

Not including your Reference Section, your answers should be approximately 1500 words (1300 word minimum / 1700 maximum). 

Please organize your answer clearly and do not use point form. If you are unsure an acceptable format, please review the About the Take-Home Examsguidelines. And if you’re still unsure, you can email your TA (see below) and she/he will help you.

Please do not submit attachments.  Copy and paste your text into the Submission box. Again, do not upload links to attachments.

WARNING – DO NOT PATCH WRITE: Note that there is a lot of information on line about attention, so it should not be difficult for you to find information … BUT please be careful not to patch write. This is plagiarism. If you do so, you will lose marks … and perhaps even fail the exam.

If you have not done so yet, please look at the What is Plagiarism – Understanding & Avoiding It guidelines on plagiarism and patch writing (particularly the highlighted section).

Reference Section

Please use a Reference Section to list the sources of the ideas in your paper that are not your own. You must acknowledge them with a citation in the body of your paper (author(s), year of publication), and also with full publication details in your Reference Section. Use APA format for this section (see examples below). And, of course, unless quoting, please use your own wording.

There is no word limit for Reference Sections … and the section does not add to your 1500 word limit for answers.

APA Reference Format

A standard source reference begins with the author’s surname, followed by a comma, then the initial(s) of his or her first name. If there are multiple authors, place a comma between each of the author names and an ampersand (“&”) before the last author’s name. There should always be a period after the author name(s).

Number of authorsExample (journal article format)
1 authorJones, G. (1996). The cognitive psychology of writing thought papers. Journal of Amazing Stuff312(7039), 1128-1131. Retrieved from
2 authorsWong, Y., & Singh, P. (2018). Why the perception of features is cool. Journal of Cognitive Processing and Other Amazing Stuff293(6547), 577-580. Retrieved from

How do I cite the readings by Dr. Wright that are unpublished chapter drafts?

These readings are drafts of chapters for a textbook in preparation. If you choose to cite any of them as a source, please use:

Wright, R.D. (2022). Introduction to Attention. Manuscript in preparation.

For more information, see this page.

Who to Ask for Help

All exam related questions should first be directed to your TA. She/he will do their best to reply to you within 48 hours (not including weekends), and will be happy to help you by email or video chat. Note that if you email a TA on the day that the assignment is due, you may not get a reply from them until after the submission deadline.

Again, even though this is a take-home assignment, this is an exam. Your TA will help you if you need clarification about the instructions or advice about how to do on-line research. But she/he will NOT help with question-specific inquiries. And she/he will not help or provide hints, for example, if you ask whether or not “you are on the right track” about X.

Exam Questions:

Question 1)   Imagine that you’re watching your neighbour’s child while she is looking at a “Where’s Waldo” puzzle book … and she is finding it quite hard to find Waldo. Do you think it’s just children that can have difficulty finding Waldo? What does difficulty finding Waldo tell us about how we visually search for objects? In what ways do we use this knowledge in everyday life?

Question 2)   One of your friends is talking about a basketball game she was playing in recently. And she was describing what it was like for her to guard two players at the same time. In particular, she talked about how she could keep track of both of them … by sometimes looking at one opponent while keeping track of the other player with what she called her “peripheral vision”. What does this tell us about how we move our attention around within a visual scene? How could being able to do so benefit us in everyday life? In what ways can this be studied?

Question 3)   A friend is telling you about something unusual that he experienced while buying groceries. In particular, while he was in the store and looking at fruits and vegetables, he thought he saw a purple banana. But when he took a second more careful look, he saw that the banana was actually yellow. Why, when he first looked it, might he have seen a purple banana? What does this tell us about how attention can affect visual perception? Can you think of other situations in which our perception of objects might be “fooled” in this way?

Question 4)   Imagine that you’re relaxing at the beach with some friends and you’re watching a beautiful sunset. Then, far away and in off to the side of where you’re looking, there’s a bright flash. And you find yourself turning quickly and looking in that direction in time to see a bolt of lightning. What does this scenario tell us about attentional focus? Can you think of situations in which a sudden event like this could disrupt performance of a task, and other situations in which it could benefit performance of a task? In what ways can this be studied?

Question 5)   You are visiting a friend and watching her while she is talking to her baby girl. And you notice that when your friend moves her eyes to look at things in the room, the baby also moves her eyes to look at those things too. What does this scenario tell us about attention during mother-child interactions? Why might this be important? In what ways can this be studied?

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