Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When attention goes badly wrong it can play some nasty tricks on us.

“Imagine if every time you walked into a room with a neatly turned down bed, you automatically took off your clothes and got into it -- even though it wasn't bedtime, wasn't your bed, and wasn't even your home. This might sound fanciful but it's a documented behaviour of patients with attentional problems caused by brain damage (Lhermitte (1983).

Many everyday occurrences can also be explained by attentional errors, like when we miss obvious changes in the environment, fail at sports or simply forget to put the milk back in the fridge. More seriously psychologists have found that attentional processes can play a role in psychological problems like anxiety, panic, insomnia, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Here are 18 ways attention can go wrong, some very common, some extremely unusual, a few downright weird; each giving us an insight into how our minds work…”

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