Cognitive Psychology

Attention Fails in Cognitive Psychology

Attention Fails in Cognitive Psychology

Attention Fails: The real significance of attention becomes pure in situations in which we cannot concentrate. Many studies contain normal participants. But cognitive neuropsychologists also have learned an excessive deal about attentional processes in the brain by learning people who do not show normal attentional processes, such as people who show specific attentional deficits and who are found to have moreover lesions or inadequate blood flow in main areas of the brain. General, attention deficits have been related to lesions in the frontal lobe and in the basal ganglia visual attentional deficits have been related to the posterior parietal cortex and the thalamus, in addition to areas of the midbrain related to eye movements. Here are two examples of failing attention:

  1. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and change.
  2. Inattentional blindness.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Most of the people take for granted our ability to pay attention and to divide our attention in adaptive ways. However not everyone can do so. People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have problems in concentrating their attention in ways that enable them to adapt in optimal ways to their environment. The condition was first described by Dr. Heinrich Hoffman. Now, it has been widely investigated. No one knows for sure the cause of ADHD. It might be a partially heritable condition.


There is some evidence of an association to

  • maternal smoking and drinking of alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Lead exposure on the part of the child may also be associated with ADHD.
  • Brain injury is an alternative possible cause, as are food additives in particular, sugar and certain dyes.

There are well-known differences in the frontal-subcortical cerebellar catecholaminergic circuits and in dopamine regulation in people with ADHD. The three main symptoms of ADHD are

  1. Inattention
  2. Hyperactivity
  3. Impulsiveness

There are three key types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are predominant:

(a) hyperactive-impulsive

(b) inattentive,  

(c) a mixture of hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behavior. Children with the inattentive type of ADHD show some unique


  • They tend to jump from one half-finished task to another.
    • They are simply distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds.
    • They some fail to pay attention to details.
    • They are vulnerable to making careless mistakes in their work.
    • They often fail to read instructions entirely or carefully.
    • They are vulnerable to forgetting or losing things they need for tasks, such as pencils or books.

Attention Fails

Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness

Evolutionarily, our capability to spot predators as well as to detect food sources has been a great benefit for our survival. Adaptive behavior requires us to be attentive to changes in our environment as variations cue us to both opportunities and dangers. It thus may be surprising to discover that people can show extraordinary levels of change blindness, an inability to detect changes in objects or scenes that are being viewed. Closely associated to change blindness is inattentional blindness, that is actually a phenomenon in which people are not capable to see things that are actually.


Spatial Neglect One Half of the World Goes Amiss  

It is an attentional dysfunction in which participants overlook the half of their visual field that is contralateral to on the opposite side of the hemisphere of the brain that has a lesion. It is a result mainly of unilateral lesions in the parietal and frontal lobes, most often in the right hemisphere.

Spatial Neglect


Read More Divided Attention


NCERT-NOTES Class 6 to 12.

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