Bottom-Up and Top-Down attention

Bottom-Up and Top-Down attentionBottom-Up and Top-Down attention

We are currently living in what has been dubbed the new attention economy. Psychologists and economists argue that consumers’ attention spans are a finite and valuable resource for which companies compete. The evidence for this is all around us: clickbait news headlines, overly-dramatic YouTube thumbnails, and apps pinging your phone with constant notifications are all vying for your attention. With the internet and its limitless information always at our fingertips, is it any wonder that many of us are having trouble focusing?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the neuroscience of attention and discuss several external factors that can impact our ability to focus.

Key takeaways

  • Focus is the ability to filter out unimportant information while maintaining the ones that need our full attention. This is incredibly important nowadays since we are constantly bombarded with external stimuli. 
  • There are two types of attention: bottom-up attention and top-down attention. 
  • Sleep plays a crucial role in focus and attention. People who don’t get adequate sleep can have severe cognitive problems. 
  • Stress is known to negatively affect cognitive function, as it may result in slower response time and accuracy.

Bottom-up and top-down attention

Impact of sleep and stress on focus

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