This chapter effectively expanded our knowledge of the information processing system, and presented theories on the role of interference in information processing. Interference can occur at each stage of processing: stimulus identification, response selection, or response programming. In 1973 Keele concluded that information can be processed in parallel until it reaches the late stage of response programming. The cocktail party problem research (Cherry, 1953) also supports the idea that stimulus identification can be processed automatically in parallel. This problem is when a subject is at a crowded party having a conversation, but from across the room may hear their name. Even though the subject was focused on their own conversation their name was able to pass through the stimulus identification stage since it is processed in parallel.
Two types of processing can occur, automatic and controlled. Automatic processing is fast, parallel, and does not use attention resources, this is the type of processing that elite level athletes typically exhibit. Controlled processing is slow, serial, and uses major amounts of attention, this type of processing is typically seen in novice performers.
The concept of attention is especially relevant to the success of divers. One of the reasons a whole dive is broken up into different parts and practiced in parts is so that these actions become an automatic process for the diver. This allows the diver to be one step ahead and commit attentional resources to processes that may not be automatic. I have noticed through high repetitions of individual parts of the dive the processes do become automatic. In most performers this takes over a year of training. The concept of information processing is something that has encouraged me to increase the number of individual parts of each dive my divers perform, instead of simply training the whole dive.