Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

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

Directed Attention

  • Ronald A. CohenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1290


Directed attention is the allocation of attention in a “directed” manner to specific information or cognitive processes.

A variety of terms have been used over the years to characterize the varieties of attentional experience, including selective, focused, sustained, divided, split, and directed attention. Some of these terms continue to be widely used to describe elementary component processes underlying attention, most notably selective, focused, and sustained attention, while others like directed and divided attention are best viewed as related to these more fundamental component processes. Directed attention denotes the fact that attention can be focused selectively in a sustained way, though it probably is best thought of as a composite of other more basic forms of attention. Directed attention often implies an “intentional” or overt focusing of attention, in contrast to more covert reactive forms of attention driven by the stimuli that occur. An example of this would...

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Health PsychologyCollege of Public Health and Health Professions, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Cognitive Aging and MemoryMcKnight Brain Institute, Univesity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA