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Selective Attention

  1. Dominique Lamy

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0831

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Lamy, D. 2010. Selective Attention. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Tel Aviv University, Israel

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


More information reaches our senses than our brains can fully process at a given moment in time. This limited capacity of our perceptual systems accounts for the difficulty we encounter when trying to monitor several sources of information at the same time, yet it is important for coherent behavior because it prevents different sources of information from eliciting incompatible courses of action. Attention refers to the mechanisms that implement the selection of sensory information that will reach short-term memory and awareness and that will participate in the control of behavior. Because the visual system is the best understood sensory modality, most investigations of attention (whether in the behavioral, neuroscience, or clinical domains) have been concerned with visual attention.


  • selective attention;
  • stimulus-driven attention;
  • goal-directed attention;
  • binding problem