In the last
exhibit, HM1, the Bell of Attentional Stability, we saw a
"spectrum of inattention" depicted horizontally, and discussed how it was
distilled from the left and right sides of the baseline where the under and overfocusing
This exhibt depicts the same spectrum in a matrix view, in rows and
columns, to show how the types were derived..
The complete continuum consists of three types of attention difficulty, in nine degrees
of intensity. Those degrees represent the intersection of increasing levels of
attentiveness and arousal.
Across the top we see increasing degrees of attention, from under (hypo) to over
(hyper) focusing. In between those two poles is a third, mixed focus (or
"dipolar") type, that swings between over and underattentiveness. Down the side,
we see the effects of increasing degrees of arousal on each of these three focusing
styles, from the impulsivity of the underaroused, which only sporadically becomes
overengaged, to the persistent obsessive quality of the hyperaroused level 3 which is
overengaged most of the time. Thus this spectrum depicts both degrees of
attention and arousal and their relative duration.
The juxtaposition of arousal with attentional types in turn produces the 2 digit code
for each subtype, ranging from 1.1 to 3.3 as shown above (each given a whimsical name to
give a sense of its dominant traits). At this point you may find it helpful to click here
or arrow back to the Attentional Bell to compare these two views of
the same continuum and see how each view reveals the underpinnings of the other.
It is important to repeat once again that this is a dynamic, shifting spectrum in which
attentions ebb and flow over time in response to stimuli. People have a default, or
primary, style they exhibit most of the time, but they also shift between these states as
arousal rises and falls.
Exhibit for the workshop Hyperactive
Hearts & Minds: Towards a Unified Model of Attention Differences, presented by
Carla Nelson at the annual midwinter Mind-Brain Sciences Colloquium in Palm Springs,
February 1997 and 98.