Lauren Wells Engel, Andreas K., Stefan Debener, Conelia Kranczioch. Coming to Attention. Scientific American Mind . August/ September 2006, pp. 46-52. Neuroscientists today ponder the question, “What happens in our brains when we deliberately concentrate on something?” They have been pondering this question since 1890, when William James wrote The principles of Psychology . This writing concluded that we cannot pay attention to everything at once. There are two types of attention. The first one is “bottom-up”, in which the stimuli goes to our consciousness automatically because the objects are so conspicuous. Some examples of this are, a loud siren, brightly colored clothes, and a penetrating odor. The second is called “top-down”, in which one can control their focus. For example in a noisy room, we can tune out the background noise to focus in on a conversation next to us. Researches have discovered that active attention is reflected in higher levels of visual
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