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automatic processing

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Any information processing that occurs involuntarily and without conscious intention or control, as in the performance of well-practised activities such as seeing, reading, riding a bicycle, playing a game, or driving a car. Compared to controlled processing, automatic processing is generally much faster, can be carried out with less effort, is less easily impaired by fatigue or alcohol, and can involve parallel processing of information from more than one sensory channel, but its development is slower and involves much more practice than controlled processing, and once established it is less controllable. The Stroop effect provides a dramatic illustration of automatic processing. Also called automaticity, preconscious processing, or pre-attentive processing. See also absent-mindedness, attention, centipede effect, dual-process model, Humphrey's law, hyper-reflection, open-loop control, principle of least effort.

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