to Directed Attention Fatigue and Restoration
Directed Attention Fatigue is widely experienced but rarely recognized.
When it happens to us, we see it as a whole range of things: feeling
cranky, tired, distracted, irritable, antisocial, or accident-prone.
Sometimes this gets better after we take a break, or
get a good night's sleep. But
The effects can be minor, so we feel down or distractible, or they can
be major, so we can't do our work, make mistakes, get in trouble, or
cause accidents, even serious accidents, if we happen to be flying a
plane or doing surgery.
And as our modern world places increasing attention demands upon us,
this relatively fragile system is under increased pressure. Noise, multitasking,
the need to frequently inhibit responses, social complexity, rapid rates
of change, they all take their toll.
Most of us have not realized that this range of effects might arise from
various aspects of attention.
That discovery was the work of environmental psychologists Dr. Rachel
Kaplan and Dr. Stephen Kaplan of The University of Michigan. They and
their students and colleagues in the SESAME group have been studying
this phenomenon for more than two decades, and have built an impressive
and literature. Dr. Bernadine Cimprich, Professor of Nursing at The University
of Michigan, has been working to understand the attention demands and
difficulties of people with illnesses. She has also done pioneering work
on Attention Restoration. Dr. Frances Kuo and Dr. William Sullivan, psychologists
at The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, are studying the effects
of inner city life on attention, and the relationship between Directed
Attention Fatigue and ADHD, and restorative outdoor activities that
these researchers are not alone—throughout the book, many others
who have made important contributions will be mentioned.
in the sections on attention restoration, the work of therapist Bill
O'Hanlon is frequently referenced and applied.
As the growing body of research expands and continues, it is time for
more people in a range of fields and walks of life to hear about this
and that is the purpose of this book.
We will talk about what Directed Attention Fatigue is, what causes it,
how attention works, and how things can go wrong.
But we won’t stop with the bad news!
In addition to reporting the consequences of Directed Attention Fatigue,
we will look at Attention Restoration—how to give our systems a
chance to restore themselves. And we will look at prevention—how
in the future we can reduce the amount of Directed Attention Fatigue
we experience and the hit it takes on our personal and public lives.
We will draw upon the knowledge of other scientists, clinicians and wise
what we can do to understand and to help ourselves and each other.
One last word before we begin--the power of a helpful friend and colleague
in focusing the attention under trying circumstances is enormous and
invaluable. Dr. Leeann Fu has been that person for me during this long