Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Attention

  • Ronald A. CohenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1267

Synonyms

Concentration; Focus; Vigilance

Definition

Cognitive processes that enable the selection of, focus on, and sustained processing of information. The object of attention can either be environmental stimuli actively being processed by sensory systems, or associative information and response alternatives generated by ongoing cognitive activity.

Historical Background

Attention is subjectively self-evident to all people, and terms that referred to attention-type experiences have been described by philosophers through the ages. The concept of attention is strongly linked in the philosophy to the nature of consciousness, self-awareness, and most theories of the “mind.” Accordingly, attention has been the subject of psychological inquiry from the beginning of this scientific discipline. The writings of William James captured this fact, as evident from this well-known excerpt from his Principles of Psychology (1898).

Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, McKnight Brain Institute, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA