Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

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

Capacity Limitations

  • Anna MacKay-BrandtEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1275


The constraints on processing of internal and external stimuli that are dependent upon the structure of, and the processes related to, the cognitive system.

Historical Background

Fundamental research in attention emerged in the 1950s with information processing theories. D.E. Broadbent published an influential book in 1958, Perception and Communication, which was in turn influenced by the contemporary work of communication theorists in engineering. Broadbent used the communication system as a metaphor for relationships within the human brain. Each brain system (i.e., sensory, memory, response generation) was conceptualized in terms of a communication system, with an information source, transmission channel(s), and a receiver. The channel by which a message is transmitted has a capacity, which limits the rate by which information can be transmitted. A property of communication systems is that the transmission of information within a system can never exceed the capacity of...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric ResearchOrangeburgUSA
  2. 2.Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging BrainColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA