Attention and memory both play very important parts withinthe cognitive system, and within this paper I will explain about, their roles,developments over time, various tests, linked disorders, and why we study them! Attention is the act of concentration of the mind on anobject or thought (google, dictionary.com) It is limited to capacity durationand therefore a limited resource that is selective and only able to focus onone main thing at a time. Taking into account all of this, it is one of themost basic parts of the cognitive system, and something you are born with.(Brilliant club workbook) Attention has developed hugely over time, with numerous waysof testing attention being developed. For example, in 1880 a gentleman namedWundt from Germany studied sensation, perception, reaction time, attention andfeeling association ; a first time of study for several of these areas. 1920,saw the creation of ‘Pavlov’s dogs’, a study where a bell was repeatedly rungon numerous occasions for the dogs to come for dinner and they were then givenfood.
Shortly after, in 1924 the first EEG also known as electroencephalogram,was built, this was headwear that recorded brain activity. Another test latercreated in 1935 was the Stroop effect where the names of colours would appearand you would have to say the actual colour of the word. The 1950’s was whenthe theory of Bottle neck was discovered, this is where attention is filtereddown and the important information is stored at the bottom, this was shortlyfollowed when during the 1970s the firstCT scanner was built, again an extremely important piece of machinery stillused today. Finally, there were two very big developments in 1961, the firstwas PET scan and in 1990 the FRML technique was invented (brilliant clubworkbook). Overall, here you can see that throughout the years several testsand studies have taken place that are based around attention; many of whichhave led to new discoveries that have significant uses to us today. Nowadays there are many more tests, some that have stemmedfrom these previously mentioned. One example could be the psychomotor vigilancetest, which consists of looking at a circle on a screen and then clicking thespace bar when the numbers suddenly appear.
It would appear that when the contestants take part for a short amountof time it is not difficult, however when done for longer periods of time it isseen as harder to keep concentration. (Brilliant club workbook) It has beendeduced, with evidence such as that test, that noise, discomfort, various thoughts, anxiety and discontent allcreate an obstacle for concentration (Yord, 2012) Another recent test is called ChangedBlindness, it consists of watching a video and focusing on a specific task , egcounting the pass’s with the basketball. Then without you knowing, somethingwill happen like a bear shuffling behind the basketball players and the testspoint is to see whilst focusing on one thing if you notice another. Thededuction from this is that you can only focus on one main thing at a time.(brilliant club) Attention affects more than one area of the brain. Wilfulconcentration, for example watching and listening to a movie, is associatedwith the prefrontal cortex, where as a sudden event that you have to payattention to, such as jumping out of the way of a car, is more associated withthe parietal lobe. (Brilliant club work book) The prefrontal cortex, isresponsible for activities, such as problem solving, and processing thoughtsthat may cause emotions, in contrast to the parietal lobe which processessensory emotions such as touch, taste etc… (google) However if these areas ofthe brain are damaged there can be many effects.
Adults that suffer prefrontalcortex damage have been seen to develop problems with making decisions andbehaving appropriately (nature neuroscience, 2:1032-37, 1999) the damage of theparietal lobe could lead to lack of awareness and problems with identifyingobjects by touch. A common disorder linked with attention is Attention deficithyperactivity disorder also known as ADHD. One category of this isinattentiveness; short attention spans, distracted easily, unable to stick totasks, difficulty organising, and appearing to loose and forget things.
Thesecond category is hyperactivity and impulsiveness; unable to sit still,excessive talking or physical movement, acting without thinking, little senseof danger and interrupting conversations or not being able to wait their turn.(NHS, 2016) The study of attention may seem dull or insignificant but itactually plays a big role in our lives. For instance, attention plays a keyrole in learning, especially for infants during their childhood, therefore itis important to understand their actions and the way best to engage them.Secondly, it is important to research and have an understanding of humansourselves and how we work and further the study of cognitive development,leading onto the final point of helping us (doctors)to understand any disordersthat may affect children or adults and how to overcome or manage these! Memory is the faculty by which the mind stores and remembersinformation (dictionary.com) There are four stags to memory, one of which isattention; you have to pay attention to take in the new information, thenencoding, storage and retrieval. Memory is vital to experiences and is theretention of information over time influencing future actions.(Wikipedia,Eysenck, 2012)Memory is often associated with two types, short and longmemory, however within that there are many more types. Short term memory,depending on the person, can store at any one time five-nine things forten-fifteen seconds.
These thoughts will then disappear unless you focus on them,therefore going into long term memory. Long term memory is a very dense networkand the older you are the more efficient it is because it’s been doing itlonger! This is where long term memory becomes more complicated splitting intomany groups, starting with explicit and implicit. Explicit memory , also knownas declarative (squire, 2009)memory is the memory of facts and events andrequires conscious thinking, it can be further split into episodic memory andsemantic memory; episodic memory beingexperiences, emotions and time and place , contrasting to semantic memory ofstructured pure facts, meanings, general knowledge and no emotions. The secondtype of long term memory is implicit, which is the unconscious memory of skillsand how to do things, for example how to ride a bike (human-memory.net) Finally, this is then split into proceduralmemory, things you don’t think about doing such as walking and then split intopriming memory , which is associations with certain things , for example theassociation of doctors with nurses.(brilliant club workbook) There aretwo areas of the brain in connection with memory and they are the Amygdala andthe Hippocampus. The Amygdala is responsible for the response and memory ofemotions, in particular fear, and with the removal of this brain region it hasled to lack of fear and response to potential danger.
It has also beendiscovered that if the amygdala has abnormal functioning this is linked todisorders such as anxiety and PTSD (brilliant club workbook) On the other handthe hippo campus is required to make new memories and store informationtemporally. It is located in the temporal lobe and if damaged you wouldn’t beable to form new memories, additionally it is the first area of the brain to beaffected by Alzheimer’s disease. Either immediate or progressive damage tothese brain areas can lead to many different diseases and disorders .Memorydisorders can range from mild to severe, but all link to some kind ofneurological damage to the structures of the brain, thus hindering storage,retention and recollection of memories. More progressive and gradual disorderscan been known as Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s, however those more immediatecould be a traumatic head injury. Overtime , it can be seen as easier torecognise these diseases, for example the first PET scan was built in 1961which will clearly distinguish Alzheimer’s for example because it would showyour brain scan as purple rather than yellow and red.
Also it is known, thatAlzheimer’s is the inability to acquire new memories and difficulty inrecalling old memories, this is due to cell connections in the brain beinglost.(human-memory.net) There aremany ways of assessing memory and the many types. For example the N back testis for short-term memory and consists of pressing the space bar if the samenumber came up as the one previously two before. Another well-known test, namedthe delayed recall test which assess episodic memory is where you have toremember ten things and say them ten minutes later. There aren’t only tests forspecific types of memory, but general , such as the eyewitness recall whichtests a bit of everything, it consists of watching video then afterwards getting asked specificquestions .
(brilliant club workbook)We rely onmemory so heavily in life, our very survival depends heavily on who we are, whoothers are, our past experiences and knowledge and new experiences in thefuture. Day to day things like what a car is, or when being a doctorremembering all the different disorders etc. In reality we are able to assesmemory which is important to see if your healthy, or, If you have a memorydisorder to see what stage you’re at , enabling help and support to be given ,although, many memory disorders are incurable (AlleyDog.com) Abstract: Within thispaper both attention and memory are addressed, the brain region associated withthem, tests used to assess them and any disorders linked. Attention is the actof concentration on one main thing at a time (dictionary.com) and Is animportant factor in life particularly on learning. Overtime the study ofattention has progressed massively from 1880 and the German gentleman namedWundt to 1990 and FRML tequnique. Within this progression attention can now beassessed in many ways, for example the psychomotor vigilance test,demonstrating the importance to assess attention to discover the best ways oflearning.
Memory is the faculty by which the mind stores or retrievesinformation (dictionary.com) and is a crucial part of life, but alsodevastating to life when damage to the brain occurs potentially effecting theability to make new memories. However, again there are ways to assess memorysuch as the N back test, giving doctors/nurses an idea as to where the patientmay be at, enabling them to find the best ways to support them. Memory is alsostudied in great depth, and many categories such as the types of memory, shortand long term and within this paper the types of memory within that.