Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Julie Testa Flaada
  • Benjamin Grover-MantheyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_235


Impulsivity; Inattention


Distractibility is the tendency of an individual to lose attention while completing a task due to the inability to disregard either environmental or internal stimuli.

Current Knowledge

The ability to assimilate new information, complete complex activities, and multitask requires an individual to have adequate attention and concentration so that pertinent data and stimuli are retained while superfluous data and stimulation are ignored. Patients exhibiting distractibility have a reduced ability to ignore stimuli while concentrating on a specific task. Sources of distraction can be environmental (auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory stimulation) or internal (day-dreaming, tremors, hallucinations, pain). Distractibility can be a direct result of the pathophysiology of a disorder (ADHD), or secondary to an injury (traumatic brain injury).

Neuroanatomically, attentional systems occur within a multitude of neural pathways. Inferior parietal and...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA