What is Selective Attention?

Imagine someone talking to you about their new dress at a party, when you look out a window and see a clown doing cartwheels in the street. You watch the clown do these tricks for a bit, and then hear the person suddenly say, ‘Hey! Are you listening?’ You try to be polite and say, ‘Of course I was.’ The person who was talking to you then responds with, ‘Oh yeah? Then what did I just say?’ You have no choice but to confess that you were paying attention to nothing other than the clown outside doing cartwheels and feel very embarrassed. This is sort of like what Selective Attention is. Selective attention is when we focus on something while not paying attention to anything else that is occurring around us. This can be related to boredom, arousal, and in extreme cases, forms of autism. For more information see here: