Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 241–254 | Cite as

Mental Attention, Consciousness, and the Progressive Emergence of Wisdom

  • Juan Pascual-Leone


I discuss the mental–attentional mechanisms of consciousness, meditation, and the emergence of wisdom. A developmental (neoPiagetian), dynamic flash-light model of mental attention is used. I model the initial stages of consciousness in infancy, showing that the growth of consciousness is influenced by the number of schemes that attention can coordinate. I discuss ordinary consciousness in adults and the stages/levels of adult development in consciousness. Wisdom is defined as an expectable but often missed outcome of adult development. To accelerate access to wisdom, two complementary paths are mentioned: a natural life-experience path and a meditation path. Maturational organismic factors and the role of mental attentional mechanisms in these two paths are discussed, and a constructivist neuropsychological model of what happens in the brain during meditation, and in higher consciousness, is sketched. Processes involved in higher stages of consciousness are then examined from this perspective.

Consciousness development mental capacity meditation wisdom 


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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

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  • Juan Pascual-Leone

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