About this Research Topic
In recent years, paradigms in the research of attention have broadened from the traditional paradigms of the laboratory study of selective attention tasks and the diagnosis and pharmacological treatment of ADHD to include rigorous empirical and theoretical accounts of attention and attention training in meditation, yoga, tai-chi, video game-playing, adaptive cognitive training, sports, psychedelic drug-induced states, and a variety of flow activities. In addition to controlled experimental studies that may utilize such instruments and methods as fMRI, EEG, MEG, SCR, and standard laboratory tasks, new methods and instruments (e.g., real-time fMRI and other neurofeedback methods, multivoxel pattern analysis, network analysis of qualitative data, predictive coding and Bayesian brain, activation likelihood estimate for meta-analysis, EEG/fMRI hyper scanning and high density TMS/tDCS), have been used to reveal the brain and body mechanisms of attention and attention training. Potential applications include improvements in cognitive performance (E.g., executive attention, creativity, memory), emotion regulation, stress reduction, physical fitness, health and well-being, training efficacy, increases in self-control, pro-social behavior and brain plasticity, as well as treatment of mental disorders (e.g., ADHD, depression, PTSD and anxiety).
Such advances have raised the question, is attention really effort and always involved in effortful process of marshaling and expending metabolic resources under sympathetic arousal? Growing evidence in behavior, physiology, and neuroscience on attention and effort indicate that attention seems to be associated not only with the utilization of metabolic resources but can also occur under parasympathetic dominance in an effortless experience, suggesting new applications.
These new mechanisms and applications call for an expansion of the previous paradigm of attention and attention training. This Research Topic aims to address these gaps through original research, perspective, commentary and review articles covering the following areas:
• Attention training methods such as meditation, yoga, tai-chi, cognitive training, brain stimulation, video games, attention bias training, sports, music improvisation, neurofeedback
• Attention mechanisms such as cognitive or autonomic control, sympathetic or parasympathetic processing, information processing using multi-level methodologies
• Effortful and effortless attention and performance
• Relationships between attention, effort, emotion, stress, mind wandering, self-related processing, habit and (un)consciousness
• Altered states of consciousness and attention (training) such as flow state, psychedelic drug-induced states, sleep, Jhana states
• Individual differences and development in attention and attention training
• Applications of attention and attention training in education, treatment, behavior change, health, and well-being
The new mechanisms and applications in attention and training research point us in promising new directions to advance our understanding of attention and attention training in improving performance, optimizing brain function, exploring (un)consciousness and preventing and ameliorating behavioral problems and mental disorders.
The Topic Editors thank Dr. Brian Bruya for his considerable help in developing this Research Topic.
Keywords: Attention, Effort, Consciousness, Autonomic Control, Mental Disorders
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