Directed Attention Fatigue and Restoration

2. Signs of Attention Fatigue in Thinking
Attention Fatigue can make it harder for you to think.

With Attention Fatigue you have decreased flexible inhibition in cognition, or thinking:
•You may have trouble focusing or thinking
•It is harder to maintain a coherent train of thought
•Your processing is impaired
•You become confused more easily
•You jam separate issues together, or have things fragment
•You may jump to conclusions
•Easy things may seem hard, such as thinking of the right word, or mental arithmetic
•You leave tasks partially done or not done—and you may not even realize it
•You may forget where you left things, or lose them
•You may lose track in the middle of a sentence
•You may feel something’s wrong, but not know what, or what to do about it
•You may get stuck on certain ideas or thoughts
•You are less flexible about stopping, starting, or changing direction mentally.
•Your flexible use of inhibition is reduced so that creative activity becomes more difficult

This is where DAF really shows up--in thinking, cognition, central processing.

And THIS IS IT, folks.

Thinking is the center of what us humans do and how we make our way in the world. When thinking gets messed up, we get messed up. DAF here can lead to problems or even disasters on the job or in school, or while driving, playing, interacting.

Being able to distinguish when our thinking is impaired can be tricky. Metacognition, self-knowledge, and self-correction are unusually fragile, and can go out the window pretty fast with Attention Fatigue.

While thinking is central issue for us, the people around us may first suspect we have Attention Fatigue by our behavior.

William James, The Principles of Psychology, 1890

Kaplan, Rachel, and Stephen Kaplan, The experience of nature, a psychological perspective, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989

Lezak, M.D., Assessing executive functions, International Journal of Psychology, 17 (1982) 281-297


Previous   Attention Index   Next

© 2006-2008 S. Beadle
Return to