The Neuropsychology of Attention


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.

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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

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.
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 (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387726380
  • Publisher: Springer US
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Series: Critical Issues in Neuropsychology Series
  • Edition description: 2nd ed. 2014
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 978
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 2.30 (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

Part One: Foundations.- Chapter 1: Introduction.- Chapter 2: Historical and Philosophical Antecedents.- Chapter 3: Cognitive Psychology of Attention.- Chapter 4: Cognitive science of attention: Current concepts and approaches.- Chapter 5: Intention, Response Selection, and Executive-Attention.- Chapter 6: Focused and Sustained Attention.- Chapter 7: Behavioral Perspectives.- Chapter 8: Orienting Response: Index of Attention.- Chapter 9: Physiological Substrates of Attention.- Chapter 10: Neural Mechanisms of Attention.- Chapter 11: Models and Mechanisms of Attention.- Part II. Neuropsychology of Attention.- Chapter 12: Disorders of Sensory Selective Attention.- Chapter 13: Attention and the Frontal Cortex.- Chapter 14: Subcortical and Limbic Influences.- Chapter 15: Attention Disturbances Associated with Neurological Disease.- Chapter 16: Medical Disorders and Behavioral Risk Factors.- Chapter 17: Psychiatric Disturbances of Attention.- Chapter 18: Developmental Disorders.- Chapter 19: Clinical Considerations: Assessment and Treatment.- Chapter 20: Neuropsychological Models of Attention Disturbance.- Part III. Toward an Integrated Attentional Framework.- Chapter 21: Consciousness and Self-Directed Attention.- Chapter 22: Neural Constraints on Attention.- Chapter 23: Processing Speed and Attentional Resources.- Chapter 24: Mutual Constraints of Memory and Attention.- Chapter 25: Spatial and Temporal Determinants of Attention.- Chapter 26: Neuroimaging of Attention.- Chapter 27: Computational Models for the Analysis of Attention.- Chapter 28: Neuropsychology of Attention: Synthesis.

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