Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Selective Attention

  • Lovina R. BaterEmail author
  • Sara S. Jordan
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1904-1



Selective attention is defined as the cognitive process of attending to one or fewer sensory stimuli (i.e., external and internal) while ignoring or suppressing all other irrelevant sensory inputs (McLeod 2018; Murphy et al. 2016). Researchers have proposed and examined several different theories for the process of selective attention such as bottleneck theories [i.e., Broadbent’s Filter Theory (1958), Deutsch and Deutsch’s Late Selection Theory (1963), and Treisman’s Attenuation Theory (1964)] that focus on flow and filtering of information and, more recently, load theories [i.e., Lavie’s Perceptual Load Theory (1994), Tsal and Benoni’s Dilution Theory (2010), and Hybrid Theory (2013)] that address perceptual and cognitive resources expended. While load theories are the primary focus within the cognitive psychology literature, it is often difficult to obtain measures that adequately operationalize these constructs, calling into question the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversität zu LübeckLübeckGermany