Differentiate between the areas involved in voluntarily shifting attention and those involved in reflexive shifts of attention.

You need the ability to shift the focus of your attention from one object to another, depending on the situation. There are early-selection and late-selection models to propose what might draw your attention to a particular target and research has identified several brain areas that are involved in shifting attention. These processes of maintaining and shifting attention are important in your daily life, such as when driving, and they have clinical implications. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is considered a disorder that impacts the ability to maintain or shift attention. Some consider ADHD both an overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed neurodevelopmental condition. Diagnosis can be challenging, but it is thought to affect about 7% of children and adolescents worldwide and about 11% of the population in the United States. Understanding attention and the biological basis of how to shift or maintain that attention may be the first step to treating the underlying cause of this disease.

Related to attention is the idea of consciousness. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they can mean very different things. In the broader sense, consciousness is that emergent property that is fundamental to human existence and potentially separates us from other living things. Researchers have struggled to define and study consciousness, generally breaking it down into easy problems, which can probably be addressed with current research techniques, and hard problems, which are the how and why questions that cannot be addressed in an obvious way by todays techniques.

For this Discussion, you will summarize the different models of attention and the brain areas involved. You will consider ADHD and the common pharmaceutical treatment. Finally, you will describe consciousness and the how researchers define the easy and hard problems of consciousness.

To prepare:
Focus on the models and types of attention and the regions of the brain involved in attention and shifts of attention. As you read about attention, consider the efficacy of multitasking. Finally, be sure you can differentiate between the easy and hard problems of consciousness.

Describe the early-selection and late-selection models of attention.
Describe the brain areas involved in attention.
Differentiate between the areas involved in voluntarily shifting attention and those involved in reflexive shifts of attention.
Describe ADHD and explain a pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatment for the condition. Include an assessment of the effectiveness of each treatment.
Define consciousness and differentiate between the easy and hard problems of consciousness.