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Attention-Chapter 2

Elsevier Inc.
DOI: 10.1016/b978-012601730-4/50004-4
  • Biology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology


Publisher Summary This chapter addresses the ways through which cognitive science disciplines are inquired into the attention process. The discipline of cognitive psychology has developed most of the current concepts of attention in conjunction with the invention of new behavioral tasks that evoke particular aspects of the attention process. The discipline of neuroscience, in turn, has adopted many of these behavioral tasks to produce attentional states in monkeys and humans that can be measured by various physiological techniques such as single-cell recordings, evoked response potentials (ERPs), positron emission topography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Three classes of attentional goals are defined in cognitive terms: (1) The accurate perception of particular objects, and accurate execution of particular actions; (2) an increase in the speed of perceptions and executions of actions; and the sustaining of attention to perception or action over a relatively long time interval for its own sake. To achieve the goals, attention must restrict the processing of the enormous array of information that is continuously available from sensory and memory sources. Along with cognitive research, it is equally important to emphasize on neuroscience by giving an equal status with the more traditional and familiar concepts of attention, provided by personal phenomenology and cognitive psychology.

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