Analysis of the elements of attention: a neuropsychological approach

Neuropsychol Rev. 1991 Jun;2(2):109-45. doi: 10.1007/BF01109051.


A model for conceptualizing the components or elements of attention is presented. The model substitutes for the diffuse and global concept of "attention" a group of four processes and links them to a putative system of cerebral structures. Data in support of the model are presented; they are derived from neuropsychological test scores obtained from two samples, the first consisting of 203 adult neuropsychiatric patients and normal control subjects, and the second, an epidemiologically-based sample of 435 elementary school children. Principal components analyses of test scores from these two populations yielded similar results: a set of independent elements of attention that are assayed by different tests. This work presents a heuristic for clinical research in which the measurement of attention is essential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Attention* / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests* / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics