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Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players by Zack Hiwiller

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27. Attention and Memory

I have a memory like an elephant. I remember every elephant I’ve ever met.

—HERB CAEN

When we drive, we are assaulted by hundreds of stimuli: other cars on the road, signs on the side of the road, the radio, other passengers in the car, and so on. Some of these stimuli require little processing—the tree on the side of the road requires little. Some require more—a car merging at a high speed requires a good deal of processing. The act of focusing on one element is known as attention. Attention allows us to process an item by putting it in conscious awareness.

We are not limited to processing only items to which we consciously pay attention. For instance, we are often unaware of tasks we perform automatically. Perhaps you ...

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