Cognitive Process
Do all of our cognitive processes withdraw from the same cognitive bank? How is
it that we are able to drive a car, chew gum, talk on the phone and listen to
music all at once? Is it possible that our mental resources are somehow
specialized in such a way so that different tasked are allocated different
resources at different strengths? Our brain is unfathomable in it\'s ability
distribute responsibility to different regions and the storage of it\'s memory
will and can never be known. With technology many questions are being answered
and with regards to divided attention. Brain imaging techniques such as the PET
scan uses 2-deoxyglucose, which is injected into the patient\'s carotid artery.

Because of its similarity to glucose (brain fuel) it is absorbed by active
energy consuming neurons. Fortunately this form of glucose derivative does not
become metabolized hence giving us the researcher the ability to tell where the
activity is located with a precision of a few millimeters. The PET scan was at
on time the only tool used to find the location of neurological processes but
now they have fMRI, which is less time consuming and less messy. With these
imaging tools, the use of the computerized tachistoscope and the educated
inferences by highly educated individuals we are getting closer to understanding
the brain and the complex web of processes present in divided attention. There
are two theories that try to explain the phenomena of divided attention. The
first states that all tasks are basically the same in regards to where they
obtain their resources. The second calls for a more complex task-specific
resource pool. General resource theory states no matter what the nature of the
tasks are they all compete for the same limited pool of resources. With this
theory in mind all we need to be concerned with is the resource demand, the
combined cost of all the individual tasks at hand. If the combined demand for
the tasks is greater than the available resources a task will suffer due to
interference. Task-specific theory states that two tasks will interfere with
each other only if the two tasks are similar hence pulling from the same source.

If the tasks are different, using different cognitive abilities i.e. Spatial vs.
verbal, then divided attention will be easy because the two processes take place
in different regions of the brain hence pulling from two resource pools rather
than just one which in turn explains divided attention. Many studies prove this
to be true and all conclude the degree of interference depends on the nature of
the tasks being performed. Working memory has its limitations and divided
attention can only be so "divided". Cognitive processes take effort
and there is some times a tie up on the neurological super highway because of
the time required to put forth that effort. The way our brain deals with these
little tie-ups is a response-selector. A response-selector can only deal with on
thing at a time, just like a waiter can only take one person\'s order at a time.

If two consecutive tasks require the response-selector one ends up waiting while
the selector deals with the other task. Most tasks do not require a constant aid
of the response-selector so you may select and then initiate an action and the
time you spend carrying out that action frees up the response-selector to take
on another task, come up with a solution and then initiate the response for that
task. This process is a cycle where response-selector bounces from task to task
this is commonly referred to as time-sharing and is evidence that divided
attention is also task-general. In everyday life I myself find that I rely on
divided attention a lot. Most of my divided attention can be explained by
automaticity. For example I work at Blockbuster Video as my off campus job and I
find the job very easy due to practice. Most of my shift is spent on auto pilot
which frees up my resources to be able to make conversation with my fellow
employees but most often with customers giving them my reviews on movies I have
seen. Performing tasks on the computer that at one time took total concentration
with practice have become actions I could do with my eyes closed. I have noticed
although a problem with divided attention I tried out for a play for the first
time this semester and I did not realize how difficult it was to do a "cold
read", reading lines that are unfamiliar and given no instruction on proper
dictation. I found my self competing for