Four Modes of Selection

James T. Enns and Lana M. Trick

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI:
Four Modes of Selection

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The concept of selective attention is fundamental to understanding human behavior. And in everyday life, it is clear that there are marked differences in attention among individuals. Some have special talents and others face special challenges; individuals of different ages display predictably different capacities. Some of these differences reflect a genetically determined plan governing neural growth, maturation, and senescence, whereas others reflect specific positive events such as the acquisition of expertise and negative events such as pathology or injury. This chapter addresses three questions: What is attention? How does attention change during childhood? What are the consequences of these changes in daily life? These questions are examined primarily for the visual modality. This chapter provides a new framework for understanding attention in children, young and older adults, and other populations of related interest, including athletes and accident-prone drivers. Four modes of selection and their central features are described: reflex, habit, exploration, and deliberation. Applied to the development of attention in childhood, this framework provides a way of understanding both age-related stability and age-related change.

Keywords: attention; visual modality; children; reflex; habit; exploration; deliberation; age-related change; age-related stability

Chapter.  9331 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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