Attention involves being in a state of alertness, focusing on aspects of the environment that are deemed important for the task at hand, and shutting out irrelevant information. As the task demands change, attention involves the ability to flexibly shift focus to another target. Originally, attention was considered a unitary construct but currently it is conceptualized as a complex process involving (a) distributed neural systems, (b) perceptual, emotional, motivational and motor systems, as well as (c) links to multiple sources of environmental information.

Some commonly studied processes of attention include selecting, sustaining, and shifting. Selection refers to the ability to narrow the field of stimuli to which one attends for the purpose of enhanced processing. Sustained attention refers to the ability to maintain focus and alertness ...

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