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Attention is the ability to maintain and dedicate focus to a particular task. Attention is believed to originate from sustained activity within certain areas of the brain, as of yet unknown. There are multiple theories within the cognitive perspective that deal with attention.

Broadbent's Filter Model

British researcher Donald Broadbent was the first researcher to present a hypothesis as to how attention would occur, and how one can focus on specific events. Broadbent’s filter model proposes that the mind blocks out information irrelevant to what one is focusing on, such as, say, ignoring another conversation going on at the same time. This idea has recieved criticism owing to the following situation. Assume that you are at a party, engrossed in conversation with another partygoer, and you hear your name on the side. By all likelyhood, your attention would be diverted, which contridicts Broadbent's theory.

Treisman's Attenuation Model

This theory states that the mind does not block other information, but that it instead limits information, but lets through important information.

The Deutsch-Norman memory selection model

This model states that a second selection process occurs in the process of receiving information. This mechanism chooses select items to go into short-term memory and our consciousness.