In this section of OOPS! we plan to include an assortment of brief essays on the topic of inattention. It’s a little sparse for now, but feel free to select one of our current essays below, or read one of our published papers for a quick dose of enlightenment. If you would like to help further the cause, feel free to send us an essay or some thoughts of your own!
Attention lapses are usually harmless, though occasionally embarrassing, occurrences such as, “My office phone rang. I picked up the receiver and bellowed ‘Come in’ at it.” This example shows what happens when our attention fails: the individual was inattentive to his or her current experience and gave an automatic response that was incorrect, though typical for similar situations.
One thinks of attention wandering away from some task at hand. This sort of mind wandering certainly can be the source of action errors and, sometimes, serious accidents. Indeed, these risks and costs are what we consider most important about mind-wander. Yet my body generally does quite well without my mind, that is, my conscious attention.