This piece was the prologue to the original monograph
of this title, first published in January 1996.

Hearts & Minds

Towards a Unified View
of Attention Differences?

by Carla (Nelson) Berg*



The Etiological Elephant

Almost 25 years ago I had a sixth sense about something more highly trained minds were not yet discussing. But I was just a an undergrad student of psych at the time, a newbie and a neophyte. So what could I know? And who was I to think I might ?

So I ignored that intuitive sense - until many years later, when I saw it was coming to pass.

What I sensed so strongly back then was that the competing clinical schools of thought would some day converge. All of the jousting experts, each trying to explain all of mentality from a single vantage point, would come to grant that they were each grasping different legs of the same etiological elephant.

Neither nature, nurture nor neuroscience, neither psychiatry nor psychology, neither behavior modification nor psychoanalysis, could explain it all or treat it all if taken alone. But they could and would if taken together.

I even roughed out a scheme for charting which types of disorders would most likely respond to which therapies. But my sixth sense said something else: Each leg of the elephant had to find its own footing first before they might stand together.

More recently, I've been hunkered down in my own cerebral landscape trying to sketch another elephant, the one we call "Attention Deficiency." Again, I've been driven by a strong intuitive sense of how it moved. Now I can explain what I sensed, and I can see why attempts to define it have been so conflict-ridden and confusing. It's again a story of different views from different angles, none mistaken, but none quite complete.

This time around, I am not too young or too shy to state what I believe. And this time, my sixth sense says might be the right time to speak.


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