Analyzing Attention

Attention is sometimes described as a spotlight that focuses your awareness on a subset of what's going on in your head or in your environment. Some people naturally have more control over the spotlight than others. Control over the spotlight can also vary in certain situations (for instance, when one is free of distractions) and with the aid of certain drugs (like caffeine, Ritalin, and other stimulants). 

Recent posts on Attention

10 Things to Know About Déjà Vu

Acceptance of déjà vu has become much wider in recent decades. Research psychologists are just beginning to understand this phenomenon.

How Eye Contact Alters Our Behavior

Eye contact has the power to alter our behavior, our attention, our memory, and our appraisal of who's looking at us. Is that always a good thing?

12 Things You Missed While You Were on Your Smartphone

Are you stalled in a digital time warp instead of being there for your loved ones?

$50m Judgment Says Brain Training a Sham

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on September 19, 2016 in The Fallible Mind
Letting someone else sharpen your brain sounds great. Except it doesn't work, and you have to do the work yourself. The good news is that it isn't so hard.
Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

Adolescence and Four Skills of Self-Discipline

Developing self-discipline is part of growing independence as one develops the capacity to become one's own authority when it comes to accomplishing what one needs to do.

Your Left Cerebellar Hemisphere May Play a Role in Cognition

By Christopher Bergland on September 17, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Traditionally, the cerebellum has been considered a "non-thinking" part of our brain. However, a new study reports that specific cerebellar brain regions are involved in cognition.

Shift the Sadness of Losing Summer

Our brain brain is good at scanning for negatives, but you can wire yourself to focus on positives.

7 Ways to Enhance Your Memory

By Ryan Anderson on September 13, 2016 in The Mating Game
Have you ever wondered if there is a simple way to improve your memory? This article gives you 7 evidence-based techniques you can use to become far better at retaining information

How to Remember Everything

By Ryan Anderson on September 13, 2016 in The Mating Game
Learning the basics of the Method of Loci technique is possibly one of the most effective ways to spend the next 15 minutes of your life

Our Brains Are Wired for Inattention and Inertia

By Christine Louise Hohlbaum on September 12, 2016 in The Power of Slow
Awareness isn't easy. The fact that our brains are wired for inattention and inertia makes mindfulness that much more challenging. It's hard, but no impossible to achieve.

Humans of New York Takes on Veteran Mental Health

“I realized that there’d soon be a point in time when we’d lost more Marines to suicide than to enemy action.” This truth isn’t new. But it’s getting a lot of new attention.

Does ADHD Exist?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Media Spotlight
While research studies aimed at identifying the neurological roots of ADHD continue to be published, at least one critic is suggesting that ADHD is a myth.

The #1 Shortcut to Greater Productivity

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Feeling It
Why Adderall and other stimulants backfire for productivity—and what to do instead

How to Install Your "Emotional Reset Button"

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on September 06, 2016 in BrainSnacks
When you press your magic reset button, you instantly distract your brain from its undesirable state of arousal, and you redirect its attention to a more positive feeling state.

Happy New Year! (For Students, at Least)

By Amy Green M.A., C.C.C. on September 05, 2016 in Psy-curious
Along with the chillier weather and pumpkin spice lattes, September is a time of new beginnings for students. A few strategies can help keep the accompanying stress at bay.
Dreamtime license

Brain Breaks Elude Me

By Margaret Moore on August 30, 2016 in Life Changes
Do you have a habit you would love to make? Have a closer look at your inner dialogue.

3 Things Mental-Strength Trainers Teach Olympic Athletes

Mental-strength trainers help elite athletes perform at their best. Here are some of the skills you can apply to your own life.

5 Ways a New Approach Can Improve Your Life Today

Studies show how humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish. Here's how you can fix that.

The Practical Benefits of a Wandering Mind

The next time you’re trying to concentrate and find your mind wandering off task, you might just want to let it go. New research suggests it may be helping you achieve your goals.
Malloreigh via flickr

Want to Be Successful? Spend More Time Staring Into Space

Think about the last time you had a great idea or solved a problem that had been plaguing you—were you in the shower?

Living With Intention

Intention is the power to redirect your thoughts. This power is limited. Here's how to grow it instead of wasting it.

ADHD and Michael Phelps: Medication Is Not a Crutch

Not taking stimulant medication for your diagnosed ADHD? You still have ADHD.

Olympics May Increase Child Prostitution in Rio

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in Nurturing Resilience
With the Olympics has come more child sexual exploitation. A new film, in development, is focusing attention on what happens to Brazil's child victims when they grow up.

Attenuation of Arousal: The Linchpin of Emotional Regulation

By Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. on August 10, 2016 in Conquer Fear Of Flying
Stress hormones grab our attention and prepare us to run or fight, in case action is required. Thereafter, arousal needs to be sharply reduced so we can assess the situation.

Consciousness and Language

The relation between consciousness and language is not always clear, but a better understanding of how cognitive abilities evolved helps clarify this relationship.

New Book: Why Knowing Fact From Fiction Really Does Matter

By Jennifer Haupt on August 08, 2016 in One True Thing
In confronting the difficult problems America faces, we all need to have a point of view... a sense of how the world works, and the ability to distinguish solutions from rhetoric.

The Cognitive Cost of Paying Attention

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on August 07, 2016 in Black Belt Brain
Stopped at a light and thinking about reaching over to check the texts on your phone? It will affect your ability to concentrate on driving. So, maybe don't do that.
K. Ramsland

Writer, Uninterrupted

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on August 04, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
Constant distraction diminishes our creative power; concentrated focus allows us to experience the most profound creative state.

A Gripping Tale: Abstraction as Our Friend (and Foe!)

In striving to be as creative as possible, we can find ourselves in an ongoing tug-of-war with abstraction.

Symptoms Are Dreams Trying to Come True

By Gregg Levoy on July 30, 2016 in Passion!
Passions become needs, and if they're not met they become symptoms. Here's how to use those symptoms to unearth your passions, and use pain to evoke growth