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Attention Lapses

  1. Allan Cheyne

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0095

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Cheyne, A. 2010. Attention Lapses. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Waterloo, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Attention lapses are a frequently annoying fact-of-life with which we all have firsthand experience. Technically, attention lapses are taken to be failures of sustained attention. The lapses referred to are therefore usually defined as temporary and often brief shifts of conscious attention away from some primary task to unrelated internal information processing. This sort of definition of attention lapse has the advantage of specifying research paradigms as well as relating absentmindedness to the important practical issue of understanding cognitive and action failures during instrumental tasks (Reason & Mycielska, 1984).