Inthis essay I am going to write about two areas of cognition. Cognition is mentalaction or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought,experience and the senses 1. The first area is attention.
Attention is when notice taken of someone or something 2,and this is separated into three key characteristics. Limited, which is whenyou stop paying attention after time, selective is when you decide what tofocus on and block out there thinks. Also sustained attention, which isfocussing for a long period of time 3. The brain areas associated with attention are the prefrontalcortex and the parietal lobe. The prefrontal cortex is used for wilfulattention, which is when you chose to focus on something. However the parietallobe is used when a person has concentrate suddenly on a sudden event.
Different tests are used to test attention andwhat happens to attention when you are concentrating on the activity. Oneexample of a test is change blindness, it is a perceptualphenomenon that occurs when a change in a visual stimulus is introduced andthe observer does not notice it 4. One has to watch attentively and an image changes and youhave to spot the differences.
Another example is the psychomotorvigilance task (PVT) ,it is a sustained-attention, reaction-timed task that measures the speed withwhich subjects respond to a visual stimulus 5. Thethird test is the dot probe test, it is when one see’s a dot on the screen theypress the ‘F’ or ‘J’ key on the keyboard. The dot-probe paradigm is a test used bycognitive psychologists to assess selective attention 6.
A disease that can be linked with attention isschizophrenia, which is a chronic brain disorder that has symptoms ofdelusions, trouble thinking and concentration 7. During attention tasks, patients have shown increased brainactivity however in others they show reduced brain activity. These conflictingfindings may be due to some study designs primarily eliciting sustainedengagement of attention.8