One of the most enduring pursuits in cognitive science is identifying the factors that separate us from lower animals -- and while it might at first seem like a trivial matter (“well, we’re just a lot smarter!”), it is actually very difficult to scientifically quantify those factors.
Taking out the trash is definitely a priority if you would like your home to smell clean and fresh. Although you may have to pinch your nose when you are throwing those sweaty gym socks in the laundry, you still manage to flush the dingy particles from the cloth in order to preserve the integrity of the socks. What you may not be aware of is that your brain may require a similar process to remain healthy.
The cause of autism is not completely understood, but several risk factors have been identified that are associated with its occurrence, including advanced age of both mothers and fathers. Now, a new study reveals that advanced age of grandparents may also predispose children to autism.
There are a lot of different models of attention, and the differences between them can be complex and subtle. Most of them, however, treat attention as a limited and expendable resource -- you can only pay attention to so many things for so long a time. Is attention really in short supply?