Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Attention and Memory

  • Taylor B. Howle
  • Stephanie A. KazanasEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_622-1



Attention and memory are a set of linked, cognitive processes. Attention refers to a number of processes – some deliberate, others unconscious – where a discrete aspect of information is selected over other, ignored information. Memory involves reproducing or recalling what had previously received attention and priority. These are related processes, as information maintained and attended to then becomes a more durable memory.


In both humans and the animal kingdom, attention and memory have functional relevance. Both groups rely on these cognitive processes, in similar ways. Attention describes the “who” and “what” of our conscious experience, as it helps keep something “alive” longer. This is the case for all animals, as they must encode and understand their dynamic environment, with the complexities associated with locating food and water, protecting...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling and PsychologyTennessee Technological UniversityCookevilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Doug P. VanderLaan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.Child, Youth and Family DivisionCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada