Training your attention

Recent research points to an important role for directed attention in short-term memory (working memory) and school success.

Focused attention plays a prominent role in successful cognitive and emotional functioning. *

Is the goal is to improve working memory through directed attention training?

Yes. But there’s more!

Cognitive neuroscience suggests that in order to be effective problem solvers, learners need to switch back and forth between focused attention modes and diffuse attention modes.

So what is diffuse attention?

In diffuse attention mode, your brain is not activating any particular neural network but is free to access typically unconnected parts of the brain. And this makes all the difference. Once you have focused attention on a difficult problem without result, let your unconscious have a try. Diffuse attention activities like mediation, playing music or running, free your subconscious to make connections that put let you see your problem in a new way. Diffuse attention allows for association, connection and creativity.

link here for specific activities and resources

* Jonides et al., 2008 . Diamond, Barnett, Thomas, & Munro, 2007 (Berman, Jonides & Kaplan, 2008) and (Posner and Rothbart’s recent Annual Review of Psychology, 2007)