Talk:Attention

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Error[edit]

"Divided attention: This is the highest level of attention and it refers to the ability to respond simultaneously to multiple tasks or multiple task demands." The highest on what scale ? Actually focussing on many stimuli decreases the ability on each stimulus, therefore interesting for simple tasks, but certainly not for the most complicated someone can handle! So classifying divided attentention as the highest form of attention is blatently wrong, at the end it's just divided anyway! Sorry don't have the time to correct it myself! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 144.85.146.172 (talk) 18:19, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


attention and psychophysics?[edit]

Are we missing attention and psychophysics completely between 1960 and 1990.

Yeah, seems like there were such people in the 1950's 60's and 70's such as Ulric Neisser, Michael Posner, Anne Treisman, Howard Egeth, Charles Eriksen, Daniel Kahneman, Richard Shiffrin. Will add some references from that period.Edison 20:52, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I added a section on cognitive models of visual attention. This should cover at least some of that gap, as it goes from the 70s to the 90s. Lovearobot (talk) 16:21, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Wow... That is quite an addition. Well done.--Garrondo (talk) 18:12, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Cherry and Broadbent?!?[edit]

Cherry and Broadbent, among others, performed experiments on dichotic listening. In a typical experiment, subjects would listen to two streams of words in different ears of a set of headphones, and selectively attend to one stream. After the task, the experimenter would ask the subjects questions about the content of the unattended stream.

umm... who are these people and do they have first names?PaulC/T+ 01:20, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Colin Cherry and Donald Broadbent. They are two of the foremost attention theorists of the time, although much of their work has subsequently been superceded by Broadbent's student, Anne_Triesman. I added their first names to the main page. Edhubbard 14:27, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

"Never really try this, however"[edit]

Is this comment really encyclopaedic? Twin Bird 18:40, 4 April 2006 (UTC)


Attention and Love[edit]

I am in the process of creating a new theory of attention. Basically what it says is that attention and love are a bilocality of mind and body respectively; love can flow when attention is paid to her, attention is the existential emptiness needed for love to flow into, while love is the food that is processed by those paying attention to create, to give form. In yet another way it is the whole (parent, earlier in time) communicating with its parts (child, later in time) thru love (the flow of energy as seen from the whole) and attention (the same energy , seen from the parts). Where would i put such thoughts in Wikipedia? Ronald Wopereis 17:06, 10 Juli 2006 (UTC)

Um, Ronald. You wouldn't. That is, unless they have previously been published somewhere. See Wikipedia:No original research which explains why you cannot simply add your new theory of attention to wikipedia. Once it's published in an appropriate forum, you can turn towards a wikipedia article. Edhubbard 14:24, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Final paragraph[edit]

I'm not sure the last paragraph in the article should really be there - as far as I can see, the article's mainly focusing on attention as a cognitive concept, whereas that paragraph is really coming at it much more from a social point of view. Personally, I'd tend to try and stick to objective attributes of a stimulus (colour, size, frequency etc), rather than concepts such as cultural salience and novelty, as a means of attracting attention. Admittedly, this may be just me not liking social psychology very much! What do other people think? --ZsigE 01:56, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

This article should be merged with two other related artilces[edit]

Selective attention and Neural mechanisms behind shifts of attention are about the same thing as Attention (although they have different content). I would think that "Attention" should remain and the information in the other two folded into this one.--Cooper24 13:09, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

   From a psychology student's point of view, this merge makes sense. In Psychology 'selective attention' and 'neural mechanisms
   behind shifts of attention' are both parts of the Attention category/field. I think Neuroscientists would also agree. --Pet aj28 (talk) 11:41, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I would agree, Neural mechanisms behind shifts of attention is really just a fork of this article. This could be made into a really interesting article if they are merged. --DavidWestlake (talk) 10:01, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. The study of attention is very wide reaching. There should probably be separate articles for neural models, computational models, etc etc. Moreover, the "categorization" portion of attention likely proceeds (at least in a bottom-up fashion) after spatial selection (cf. Logan, 2002). What we need here is a structure seen in other articles cf U.S. Route 395, that is section headings for the relevant areas and then sub-articles for each specialized way of thinking of attention, each proposed mechanism, and each modality. The articles will necessarily have a lot of overlapping content, but this area of study can not be understood without considering each level of analysis separately and in inter-relation - that is far more than any single article should have. Dark Nexus (talk) 14:54, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Cocktail Party Effect?[edit]

As I understood this effect, it is in fact not the ability to tune out the surrounding stimuli, but the ability to process it in conjunction to the main focus of ones attention. Thus the analogy of a cocktail party: Talking to one person intently and still being aware of someone saying your name across a crowded room.

Similarly there is no reference to the three main cognitive models of attention (Broadent, Treisman, and Deutsch & Deutsch), and the discussion of early verses late processing of information. Of which the Cocktail Party Effect diputes Broadent's theory of single early filtering of information.

Ryen Schimerman schimschone@gmail.com

(206.124.7.181 20:32, 18 September 2007 (UTC))

Please don't merge "Neural mechanisms behind shifts of attention" to Attention[edit]

Neural mechanisms behind shifts of attention is a very informative article on a very specific topic. I suggest not to merge it with the generic article Attention

It deserves to be independent

DhananSekhar (talk) 09:47, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree Dark Nexus (talk) 14:54, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Current Research?[edit]

There doesn't appear to be much in the way of current research referenced here; for example Nilli Lavie's Perceptual Load theory. http://www.psychol.ucl.ac.uk/attention.lab/reprints/Lavie-etal-04.pdf —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.86.146.43 (talk) 19:17, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Location in Brain?[edit]

This article fails to point out where in the brain attention and concentration is centralized in. Does this mean it is globalized, or does it only mean that it just isn't in the article? Thanks --65.38.32.129 (talk) 01:52, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Attention has many manifestations and is widely distributed in the brain: control originates in prefrontal cortex (within working memory and executive control) and is implemented via regions of parietal cortex, which modulate sensory activity in occipital, parietal, and temporal cortex (at least). This is something that needs to be fleshed out.--Cooper24 (talk) 15:58, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Long term attention?[edit]

Something related to the management of attention (allocation of cognitive resources) over a longer period of time (weeks, months). This concept is linked with the concept of the Attention economy. Nabeth (talk) 21:57, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Is there such a thing as divided attention?[edit]

This is somewhat in response to the first comment. It is also interesting to note that so-called divided attention may actually be a rapid serial sampling of the environment (similar to so-called "alternating attention"), as suggested by VanRullen et al., (PNAS December 4, 2007 vol. 104 no. 49 19204-19209). However, more research is needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.172.131.199 (talk) 12:54, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

What about also the concept of "continuous partial attention" coined by Linda Stone? --Nabeth (talk) 22:43, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that works. Partial attention is really a rapid movement between two targets. If two people say one word (a different word) at the same time, you can tell me what both words were. Even in the process of them saying both words, you still rapidly shifted focus. The louder one would get the attention first but because I told you to focus on both, you would be listening for both. In a conversation with two people talking to you at the same time, you will not be able to focus on both conversations. You would be shifting back and forth between the two, recalling certain parts of both audio streams. At least that is what I have been taught. (RyanDanielst@gmail.com) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.205.35.183 (talk) 21:54, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

As to the possibility of a so-called 'divided attention', I would shift the attention (!) from the 'divided' part to the 'attention' part: maybe attention can be divided, but, for, according to the definition at the beginning of the article, being attentive is "selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things", attention, after being divided, is not attention anymore. And I doubt if it's something 'higher' than attention.

Social attention to be added[edit]

We need to find some way to introduce in this article the concept of social attention, at least to situate it in perspective of attention. Note that social attention also represents a cognitive process (see also social cognition), which has to do with how people allocate their cognitive resources interacting with others, in the short term, or in the longer term. --Nabeth (talk) 22:24, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Note: A reference to add, that was removed unapropriatly: - {{cite book - | author=M.R.A. Chance. and R. Larson, editors - | title=The Structure of Social Attention - | publisher=N.Y.: Wiley - | year = 1976 - }} --Nabeth (talk) 22:27, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Another reference related to the limited capacity for people to engage into too many social relationship is the work of Robin Dunbar and the Dunbar's magic number 150. Dunbar, Robin (1992), Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates, Journal of Human Evolution 20 : 469-493.
--Nabeth (talk) 17:39, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Definition needs revision[edit]

The current definition: "Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things". This definition needs revision. It uses vagues words ('things', 'concentrating').

I would suggest to have instead something like: Attention is the cognitive process related to the allocation and focussing of cognitive resources. Any other suggestion, preferably from an expert (proficient both in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience) would be apreciated --Nabeth (talk) 22:38, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Gamma waves[edit]

Ask123 (talk · contribs) just added a sentence about gamma waves to the lead, referenced to a New York Times article. I am moving it to the "Neural Correlates" section, because gamma is just one of many brain phenomena associated with attention. Some people think it is the most important, other don't -- the consensus is not yet strong enough to justify putting this in the lead. I am also changing to a different reference -- newspapers, even the NYT, are generally not the best references to use for scientific articles. Looie496 (talk) 15:11, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Fine. No problem. ask123 (talk) 16:46, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Attention seeking[edit]

(copied from Penbat's talk page) Hi -- it isn't clear to me that "attention seeking" properly belongs in the attention article, it seems more of a social than psychological construct. If you aren't planning on filling this out yourself, I'm a bit unhappy about having that empty section sit there potentially indefinitely. Regards, Looie496 (talk) 20:50, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

I was thinking of starting a new article for "attention seeking" as it is an important well known concept and it is amazing that it isnt an article already. I put the blank section in the attention article to try to spur some action as i have found that frequently i have to do nearly all the work myself for missing articles. Attention seeking is actually definitely psychology or social psychology but a different branch to the bulk of the Attention article. For example attention seeking is integral to various personalty types such as histrionic personality disorder (see 1st sentence which ironically links to the Attention article for info on Attention Seeking). I think ideally there needs to be a Attention Seeking section with a 1 para summary within the Attention article with a link to a separate main article on Attention Seeking.--Penbat (talk) 21:06, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree with Looie on this one. First of all, it is clear that the article is about the cognitive construct: See the very first line of the lead "Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things." Secondly, even if this topic was appropriate for this article, simply adding a heading and expand template does nothing to improve the article. Edhubbard (talk) 22:39, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Copyvio?[edit]

Attention#Current_research looks very similar to ISBN 1434995550 pg. 72-73. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:57, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, the Wikipedia material predates that book by two years, so clearly doesn't violate its copyright. If there has been any copying, it would be from the cited Sohlberg and Mateer source. The Wikipedia passage was added on 16 May 2007 by Garrondo (talk · contribs), in this diff. Looie496 (talk) 18:31, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. Would you compare it to ISBN 978-1572306134 p 128-129 and let me know what you think? (It's the current edition of the named source, and is visible on Amazon.com.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:32, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
That was one of my very first editions in wikipedia, and seeing it retrospectively I might have copied too much verbatim from the original source. (although at least I gave the reference). It may be a good idea to rewrite with other words since the information is correct and of high importance. I would do it, but I do not think I will have time in a month or so. Bests.--Garrondo (talk) 10:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I have just read the first book you commented and it seems that it was them copying from wikipedia: In addition to this article I have taken a look at the attention span and distraction articles and they have full lines copied verbatim. I do not know if we should notify somewhere about this book, but it clearly breaks wikipedia copyright terms.--Garrondo (talk) 15:57, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I found this through trying to clean up Attention span. I'm not sure how successful I was. When/if you (or anyone else) has time, I'd be happy to see improvements made. As a first step, are you aware of any other sources that address this issue? Using multiple sources might help us both provide more information and run less risk of accidental infringement.
I'm not sure whether GFDL prevents people from using Wikipedia's text in books they publish. Doing so without attribution makes our job harder, of course, and plagiarism is dishonest, but it might be technically legal. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:41, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
GFDL explicitly permits other people to use Wikipedia's text, but it requires that they attribute the source and release their modified version under the GFDL. Using Wikipedia's text without attribution does indeed violate Wikipedia's copyright. Looie496 (talk) 23:46, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Maybe we should comment it at the medicine and psychology projects, and see if anybody can give us advice about what to do. We are always concerned on copyright infrigement one way, but we should also be concerned when it occurs the other way. Bests.--Garrondo (talk) 08:28, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

After the great addition today I have tried to do some fast clean up: right now what we have is different models of attention (more ore less), so I have converted most subsections in level 2 instead of 3, eliminated part of one synthesis-tagged section and moved the rest to the introduction and moved here two very small sections which make use of cherry-picked primary sources, weasel words; and probably are not relevant in a general page on attention.

The reason why I moved them here is so they have an easy access in the future in case they are considered relevant (probably for a secondary article)

Finally See also sections are discouraged by MOS and we have a huge see also section which could (should) be cleaned up, and the same occurs with the further reading section

Sections eliminated are:

Attention and boredom[edit]

Some research has suggested that the inability to pay attention often leads to boredom, rather than boredom leading to inattention. One study found that the same reading material was judged interesting or dull depending on the level of distraction found in the environment.[1]


Attention and autism (in relation to social attention)[edit]

Some studies have found some correlation between attention and autism, in particular related to social perception.[2] For instance experiments have shown that "participants with autism exhibited reduced face gaze, linking to a lack of interest in socially relevant information".[3]

Bests.--Garrondo (talk) 18:27, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not the place for a list in all articles on an issue. They should be integrated as sources in the article. I'll leave them here for future use.--Garrondo (talk) 20:59, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Further reading[edit]

Under "History of the study of attention"[edit]

The sentence "However, as early as 1858, Franciscus Donders used mental chronometry to study attention and it was considered a major field of intellectual inquiry by such diverse authors as Sigmund Freud." fails to specifiy any additional authorS... It could be modified to "e.g." instead of "such diverse authors as", but maybe someone can fill in something to make the sentence "whole"?... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 195.249.185.2 (talk) 10:38, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Working memory[edit]

I have been reading about it in terms of working memory control, or a central function of executive function--something that ties together executive function. --John Bessa (talk) 13:44, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Brief diversions help attention[edit]

PMID 21211793 "Brief and rare mental "breaks" keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements" is interesting and has been attracting some attention. II | (t - c) 19:31, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Attention linked into hydration[edit]

I would like to see a section on how hydration (or dehydration) effects attention (since attention seems to be the article for concentration of the mental type.

I have checked the hydration and dehyration article and I cannot find anything about such an issue.

there must be lots of statistics out there.

Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kevie correct (talkcontribs) 11:03, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Actually there is hardly any information at all -- the only thing I could spot was PMID 17545888. Looie496 (talk) 15:37, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Make the page easier to read.[edit]

I claim that this page is difficult to read or to understand. Examples would be nice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Obesechicken13 (talkcontribs) 22:25, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Psychological manipulation[edit]

(moved from user_talk:Edhubbard) I agree that psychological manipulation isnt relevant to attention as it stands but that is because it doesnt cover interpersonal attention which it ought to.--Penbat (talk) 14:42, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm not convinced on either part. First, I'm not sure that attention should include interpersonal attention (do you mean "joint attention", "shared attention" or simply the ability of social cues like eye-gaze to orient attention?) and second, even if it did, I'm not at all convinced that this type of directing attention rises to the level of intentional, social coercion of the sort that the psychological manipulation page and category are focused on. Edhubbard (talk) 14:52, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
If you want to psychologically manipulate using positive reinforcement you give your time, support and attention to express interest and approval. Conversely to express disapproval (negative reinforcement) you are inattentive, you just ignore them therefore expressing lack of approval and avoiding providing support. --Penbat (talk) 19:13, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Attention and Age[edit]

I checked the wiki for information pertaining to attention and age, wondering if there were a correlation. Nothing directly relevant here, but a literature search yielded Carriere, J. S. A, Cheyne, A. J., Solman, G. J. F and Smilek D. (2010) "Age trends for failure of sustained attention" Psychology and Aging. It seems to confirm the notion that capacity for sustained attention increases with age.92.24.63.185 (talk) 01:47, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

This is well-known for children (of course 12 year-olds can sustain attention longer than 3 year-olds), but I wonder what age range your article is about? Lova Falk talk 18:00, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Cultural Variations[edit]

I think this page could address some of the culture differences in the variations of attention, we plan to add more information about this with references. The research exists although it is limited to (mostly) a specific group of researchers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RNJ119 (talkcontribs) 22:00, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Divided attention section promoting mobile phone use while driving?[edit]

Does anyone else think this paragraph paints the (legally heated) issue of mobile device use while driving to seem a perfectly natural psychological process?

Divided attention is the task of actively paying attention to more than one task at a time, and it is both important and common in every day life. It is rare for someone to be engaged in just one task. Talking on the phone while driving, doing homework while listening to music, and watching TV while preparing dinner are all examples of dividing our attention to several different tasks. In fact, driving a car alone causes our focus to be split between several different things at once; one must always be aware of their speed, their surroundings, and the condition of their car. Failure to notice any of these can result in a possible ticket or a terrible car accident.

Doing homework while listening to music and watching TV while preparing dinner are relatively natural pairings, not activities causing widespread controversy. Listing an activity that's illegal in many jurisdictions as the very first example of divided attention makes it seem like a textbook natural process to master. The rest of the paragraph seems to imply that one simply need focus normally in order to do any of the aforementioned activities, whereas much of the debates have concluded that people generally cannot, and should not attempt to, safely divide their attention to phone use while driving. Just taking out "on the phone" might help since people do talk while driving safely. Any thoughts? Squish7 (talk) 02:32, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Agree. Moreover: tone is completely unencyclopedic, it is unsourced and truly adds nothing to the article. I have eliminated almost the full paragraph. Bests.--Garrondo (talk) 09:16, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Moved from article[edit]

I have moved the following paragraph from the article. Reason is that it is really hard to understand, repetitive with previous info in the article. To be readded to the article it should be rewritten. --Garrondo (talk) 09:32, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Indigenous communities who participate in open attention which is the same as simultaneous partake in a customary way of taking in information from the present environment. In indigenous cultures that pay careful attention to social events and physical conditions, children are expected to incorporate observational and integrative skills and by doing so open attention becomes fully effective as a learning agent.Open attention shows the ability to have a wide field spectrum of ones surroundings compared to the assumption of attention being a very narrow focused spectrum. For example, one study found that Guatemalan mothers and infants were able to equally distribute their attention on multiple objects and event simultaneously.[4][5]

Divided Attention overhaul[edit]

I recognize that the Divided Attention section was relatively recently redone to include more recent research. Howver, the section is solely based on Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012, and other papers referenced in the section are in fact based on their use within S&S 2012.

As far as I can tell, Sternberg & Sternberg 2012 does not exist, or is not easily accessable; why is the reference only to "Sternberg & Sternberg, 2012" and not to an actual journal article? I am unable to locate such a paper using either Google Scholar or my university's library resources.

Furthermore, Lansman & Hunt, 1982 is erroneously referred to as Hunt & Lansman, 1982--having the authors listed backwards is decidedly odd. Both Lansman & Hunt (1982)[6] and Spilke, Hirst, and Neisser (1976)[7] are both freely available and easily accessable on Google scholar; why do they need to be referred to and explained secondhand with misleading interpretations?

This entire section reads like an exerpt from an undergraduate essay that relied solely on one source, and misrepresents research within the area. For example, Kahneman's (1973) theory on attention is not the first recorded theory into the single-channel hypothesis of attention; Lansman & Hunt (1982) neither mentions nor implies a role for intelligence in the performance of simultaneous tasks.

There is no reference to the differences in accounting for divided attention and multitasking performance from bottleneck and multiple resource theories; there is no accounting for driving & multitasking research (the current hotbed for research in this area).

CognitiveThread (talk) 19:32, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

As it turns out, it seems that this section was actually referring to a 2012 Cognitive Psychology textbook written by Sternberg & Sternberg[8] .
CognitiveThread (talk) 20:03, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Moved from article - 2[edit]

I have cut the following text out of the section Exogenous and endogenous orienting, because it is way too hard to understand. Please rewrite! Furthermore: Please use newer sources, add page numbers to the book, and add a source to the last paragraph. Try to avoid using "you". Thank you! Lova Falk talk 14:11, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Further, only when the cue is not informative can the presence of an exogenous cuing effect be determined. What exogenous cuing effects reveal is that, in spite of automatic word movements being suppressed, attention will continue to move reflexively to the location of onset (or offset) of a stimulus in the visual field. Sudden changes in the visual field may not only lure attention, but also increase alertness[9][10] As a result, cuing benefits are frequently measured using a cost-benefit analysis [11] In order to successfully complete this procedure, a cue is presented on every trail to ensure that any alerting effect of the cue will be held constant. Valid cure are cues intended to accurately predict where on the display a target was to appear. In contrast, invalid cues are were placed on the opposite side of where the target would appear, providing inaccurate and misleading information about where a target would be displayed. Nonetheless, in order to compute the cuing benefits, the reaction time and accuracy of performance in the presence of valid and invalid cues must be compared. When performance is better in the presence of valid cues, then you are observing a cuing effect.

Moved from article -3[edit]

Moved from the section Hemispatial neglect, because both paragraphs are too hard to understand for the ordinary reader, and an encyclopedia should describe broad general knowledge, not specific results of studies - apart from seminal studies. Lova Falk talk 14:37, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

This type of deficit in people's ability to navigate the left side of their body and environment may correspond to the ipsilesional deviation of the subjective straight-ahead (SSA) as described in unilateral neglect patients. Research has been done to show the difference between neglect patients versus non-neglect patients. When asked to point at certain median body parts, there was a significant difference between the neglect patients and the non-neglect patients, such as those with spatial neglect stood out as to not locate the correct median of a specified body part. However, these neglect patients are able to point straight ahead.[12]

Patients with neglect also have a difficulties orienting the median with a specified group of numbers. These brain-damaged subjects with a defect in the right hemisphere tended to orient more so to the left side of the body, and therefore, also tended to orient themselves to the left side of the numbers on a spatial number line. According to this research, it is suggested that right brain damage to prefrontal spatial working memory structures tends to be represented in this type of disruption on visual number lines when patients think numerically.[13]
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