Signal Versus Noise

Jeff Shih, Researcher
Updated Jan 15, 2013
Suppose that there is an instruction contains several words. Suppose also that someone does not need to pay attention to all words to figure out what to do (4).

A person, who is stingy with time and energy, would ration his attention to only register words that have the potential to change his/her current behavior.* In other words, information users typically focus only on "signals," forming an opinion about the current state of affairs by factoring in the signs that are significant to us (3). Everything else is "noise."