The Attention Dimension


  1. I can concentrate in a noisy environment.
  2. When I am in a situation in which a lot is going on and there is a great deal of sensory stimulation, such as at a party or in a crowd at an airport, I can keep myself from getting lost in a train of thought about any particular thing I see.
  3. If I decide to focus my attention on a particular task, I find that I am mostly able to keep it there.
  4. If I am at home and trying to work, the noises of a television or other people make me very distracted.
  5. I find that if I sit quietly for even a few moments, a flood of thoughts rush into my mind and I find myself following multiple strands of thought, often without knowing how each one began.
  6. If I am distracted by some unexpected event, I can refocus my attention on what I had been doing.
  7. During periods of relative quiet, such as when I’m sitting on a train or a bus or waiting in line at a store, I notice a lot of the things around me.
  8. When an important solo project requires my full and focused attention, I try to work in the quietest place I can find.
  9. My attention tends to get captured by stimuli and events in the environment, and it is difficult for me to disengage once this happens.
  10. It is easy for me to talk with another person in a crowded situation like a cocktail party or a cubicle in an office; I can tune out others in such an environment even when, with concentration, I can make out what they are saying.

Give yourself one point for each True answer to questions 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 10; score one point for each False answer to questions 4, 5, 8, and 9. Score zero for each False answer to 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 10, and for each True answer to 4, 5, 8, and 9. A score of eight or above means you fall at the Focused end of the Attention dimension, while a score of three or below means you tend to be Unfocused.

Neurological Aspects of the Attentive Brain

There is so much information entering the brain at every moment that it is almost a miracle that we have an ability to concentrate on one object (like the breath for instance).  There are two mechanisms that regulate attention.  As you are reading these words, the first mechanism enhance the strength of the visual signal and the second mechanism inhibit the sound signals that might be coming from other rooms in your house. Again the activity of the prefrontal cortex can be underscored in the regulation of selective attention.  Needless to say that it is a very active region of the brain when we meditate or are very mindful.  Meditation increased the neurological thickness of the prefrontal cortex which can have a very positive impact on many aspects of our life.