The Neuropsychology of Attention / Edition 1

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It has been 15 years since the original publication of Neuropsychology of Attention. At the time of its publication, attention was a construct that had long been of theoretical interest in the field of psychology and was receiving increased research by cognitive scientists. Yet, attention was typically viewed as a nuisance variable; a factor that needed to be accounted for when assessing brain function, but of limited importance in its own right.

There is a need for a new edition of this book within Neuropsychology to present an updated and integrated review of what is know about attention, the disorders that affect it, and approaches to its clinical assessment and treatment. Such a book will provide perspectives for experimental neuropsychological study of attention and also provide clinicians with insights on how to approach this neuropsychological domain.

Concerns findings on mechanisms of attention/uses theories from other disciplines/considers neurobehavioral constraints

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Editorial Reviews

This text provides a synthesis of theories, concepts, and experimental findings regarding the neuropsychology of attention. The volume is divided into three parts. Part I reviews the basic concepts necessary to neuropsychological considerations, culminating in the presentation of a theoretical framework of attention. In Part II, this theoretical attentional framework is considered with regard to neuropsychological disturbances of attention. Part III departs from clinical neuropsychology to consider factors that must be examined in order to specify the neuropsychological parameters underlying attention. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Attention is a core cognitive function, impacting all other functions of the brain. Recognized as a primary component of cognitive functioning in a variety of illnesses, it is thoroughly reviewed and explored in this book.
Purpose: The first edition was published in 1993 and this update is needed, given significant advances in our understanding of the construct.
Audience: The book is intended for neuropsychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, health psychologists, physicians, and educators.
Features: There are three main sections. The initial section, dedicated to foundations of attention, is a review of the cognitive neuroscience and physiology that underlies attention. It includes concepts, models, and frameworks for understanding attention functioning, as well as delineating disparate contributions of the variety of attentional types. These are defined and then explored with regard to historical concepts, changes in conceptualization over time, and future directions. These are accompanied by the usual thorough review of the literature with an outstanding array of references for each chapter, illustrative and educational figures, good organization, and cogent summaries. Some of the figures are in color when pertinent and overall the quality is reasonable even in grayscale. In the second section on the neuropsychology of attention, each of the brain areas is covered with respect to its involvement in attention. There are illustrative examples of test performance by patients, as well as additional instructive visual aids, such as gross anatomic slices of the brain. The section finishes with a review of attentional deficits in various neurological diseases, psychiatric disorders, and developmental disorders. The chapters in this second section are very clinically oriented and easily adaptable to test selection and interpretation in clinical practice with various conditions. The final section explores an integrated framework for understanding the roles of attention in various behavioral enigmas, such as consciousness and self-awareness. The work of key contributors to attentional models is detailed and reviewed, including preeminent scholars such as Posner, Mirsky, and Stuss. Readers will be interested to note expansions to this edition in the areas of neuroimaging, working memory, attentional problems in various disorders, testing for attention deficits, developmental origins of attention, and treatment. There are a couple of outstanding weaknesses that are not addressed in this edition. Despite treatment being a purported focus of the update and having a chapter with "treatment" in the title, that particular chapter contains no treatment information and readers must hunt for the treatment information in chapters on specific topics, making it difficult to find on a reference basis throughout the rest of the book. The other notable weakness is the review of tests for assessing attention. Some major tests mentioned, but there are some notable omissions. The chapter also has a scarce nod to some strengths and weaknesses of each test, but no clear clinical guidelines about what types of cases or situations they might be differentially useful. The references are incredibly detailed and inclusive, with many updated since the first edition, but the index is fairly limited for such a lengthy tome.
Assessment: Aside from some minor weaknesses that are not part of the main focus of the book, this is an excellent, comprehensive resource on nearly everything happening in the world of attention.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306439537
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 9/30/1993
  • Series: Critical Issues in Neuropsychology Series
  • Edition description: 1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 545
  • Product dimensions: 1.31 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Cohen, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital and Director of Neuropsychology at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Cohen is an active researcher in clinical and cognitive neuroscience with over 50 publications. His research interests include the study of brain-behavior relationships, particularly with respect to attention, timing, and executive functioning. His clinical research interests include the neural bases of violence, cardiovascular disease influences on neurocognitive functioning, and Alzheimer's and related dementia. Recent work has been initiated to examine neurobehavioral effects of brain nicotinic function. Cohen is actively involved in the training of interns and postdoctoral fellows.

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Table of Contents

Forward: By Kenneth Heilman, MD


Part One: Foundations of Attention

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Cognitive Science of Attention

Chapter 3: Behavioral perspectives on Attention

Chapter 4: Developmental Consideration: Attention across the Lifespan

Chapter 5: Psychophysiology of Attention

Chapter 6: Functional Brain Imaging

Chapter 7: Models and Mechanisms of Attention: An Overview

Part Two: Neuropsychology of Attention

Chapter 8: Functional Neuroanatomy of Attention

Chapter 9: Neglect Syndrome: A disorder of selective attention

Chapter 10: Varieties of attention disturbance

Disorders of intention and focused attention

Disorders of response selection and control,

Disorders of sustained attention

Chapter 11: Attention Deficit Disorder

Chapter 12: Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia

Chapter 12: Subcortical brain diseases

Chapter 13: Cerebrovascular disease

Chapter 14: Traumatic Brain Injury and disorders affecting the frontal lobes

Chapter 15: Metabolic disorders

Chapter 16: Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Chapter 17: Delirium

Part Three: Clinical considerations

Chapter 18: Neuropsychological assessment of attention

Chapter 18: Brain neuroimaging approaches

Chapter 20: Pharmacological and behavioral treatment of attention disturbance

Part Four: Towards an integrated attentional framework

Chapter 21: Spatial Determinants of Attention

Chapter 22: Temporal Determinants of Attention

Chapter 23: Memory and Attention

Chapter 24: Processing speed as a determinant of capacity

Chapter 25: Insights from computational modeling

Chapter 26: An integrated framework

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