Prefrontal cortex and Attention!





“Altered Traits”

In humans the prefrontal cortex takes up a larger ratio of the brain’s top layer, the neocortex, than in any other species, and has been the site of the major evolutionary changes that make us human. 



This neural zone, as we will see, holds the seeds of awakening to enduring well-being, but it is also entwined with emotional suffering. 




We can envision wonderful possibilities, and we also can be disturbed by worrisome thoughts—both signs of the prefrontal cortex at work. 




While William James wrote about attention as though it were one single entity, science now tells us the concept refers not just to one ability but to many. 



Among them: 


Selective attention, the capacity to focus on one element and ignore others. 

Vigilance, maintaining a constant level of attention as time goes on.  

Allocating attention so we notice small or rapid shifts in what we experience. 

Goal focus, or “cognitive control,” keeping a specific goal or task in mind despite distractions. 

Meta-awareness, being able to track the quality of one’s own awareness—for example, noticing when your mind wanders or you’ve made a mistake.




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