This chapter introduces the functional approach to attention, arguing that attention is a response which emerges from the interaction of the individual and the immediate context. It includes the processes of selecting a target, a state of engagement, and higher-level controls necessary to maintain and shift attention. The book is divided into two sections. The first section (Chapters 3 through 9) covers normal development of various aspects of attention: scanning, selectivity, state-related components, focus, and resistance to distraction in relation to an earlier orienting system and a later more controlled system of attention. The second section (Chapters 10 through 13) covers individual variations in attention: individual differences in attentiveness, related temperamental characteristics, variation in patterns of development, and possible early deficits in attention.
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