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Sustained concentration on a specific stimulus, sensation, idea, thought, or activity, enabling one to use information-processing systems with limited capacity to handle vast amounts of information available from the sense organs and memory stores. See also alpha blocking, attention operating characteristic, attention span (1, 2), attenuation theory, automatic processing, bottleneck theory, cocktail party phenomenon, controlled processing, dual-task performance, filter theory, flanker compatibility effect, hypercathexis, inattentional blindness, late selection, marginal consciousness, visual search. Compare attensity, consciousness. [From Latin attentio attention, from attendere to apply the mind to something, from Latin tendere, tensus to stretch]

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