Science Summary

Selective attention’ is about the capacity to maintain your focus in the face of distracting or competing input. Mastering selective attention gives you "freedom from distractibility". For instance, attention is required to listen carefully to what someone is saying, while ignoring other conversations in the room (the ‘cocktail party effect’). It is also required to listen to a cell phone conversation while driving a car [3].

‘Alternating attention’ is the capacity for mental flexibility. It allows you to alternate your focus and move between tasks that have different demands on you.

The balance between selective and alternating attention is important for multi-tasking . Alterations in brain structure and function have a direct impact on attention [1,2]. Optimal attentional capacity Is associated with optimal functioning in home and work life.

1. Gunstad J et al. (2006). Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 21, 645 - 650

2. Knudsen EI(2007). Annual Review of Neuroscience, 30, 57–78.

3. Strayer DL et al. (2003). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 9, 23–32

Thinking Skills
Sustained Attention


Controlled Attention


Executive Function

Processing Speed

Recall Memory

Working Memory

Motor Coordination