Jean-Philippe Lachaux

The Attentive Brain Improving Concentration With the Neurosciences Publication date : March 24, 2011

Jean-Philippe Lachaux is researcher in the cognitive neurosciences and the director of the Brain Dynamics and Cognition Unit at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm), in Lyon. He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique.

Why study attention? Focused attention is rare and precious. It cannot be scattered over a variety of subjects at once, yet countless demands compete for it incessantly. Everywhere, in city streets and in the media, carefully crafted advertisements vie to capture and retain our attention for as long as possible. Attention means money: a product that succeeds in focusing it emerges from the surrounding mass of objects and begins to exist. Attention determines our perception of the world, our relation to what surrounds us and to ourselves and it acts like a beacon, lighting up the world of our thoughts, sensations and feelings.

For these reasons, we must learn to allocate our attention carefully.
The goal of this book is to enable readers to understand their own attention. But they must first learn to understand the organ that supports attention: the brain. And because attention is a biological phenomenon, with its own limits, there are reasons — biological reasons — why concentration is so difficult.