Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Neuroscience: The importance of focused attention

In the Huffington Post, Rick Smith (October 9, 2009) notes
In a 2005 article for the United Kingdom's Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, physicist Henry Stapp and psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz showed that sustained concentrated attention on any particular mental experience-a thought, an insight, an image, even a fear-not only kept the brain circuitry involved open and alive but also eventually produced physical changes in the brain's structure. In effect, by increasing attention, you are creating brain architecture specifically suited to the challenges before you. Little wonder, then, that performance should grow dramatically.
Schwartz is the lead author of The Mind and the Brain, which sets forth this thesis in more detail. Basically, our minds become what we focus attention on, and this can be good or bad for us, depending on what that is.

Meanwhile, this Dark Age blog post (October 11 2009) mentions both Mario Beauregard, the third author of the 2005 paper and yours truly as well.