[Link] Why paying attention is anything but elementary

Our brain is highly optimized, we just don't realize it

Our vision is highly selective: the retina normally captures about ten billion bits per second of visual information, but only ten thousand bits actually make it to the first layer of the visual cortex. To top it off, only 10% of the area’s synapses are dedicated to incoming visual information at all. Or, to put it differently, our brains are bombarded by something like eleven million pieces of data at any given time, and of that, we are able to consciously process only about forty. What that basically means is that we “see” precious little of what’s around us. Instead, our sight is selectively filtered based on any number of factors: our state of mind, our mood, our thoughts, our motivation, our goals. So, we might think we’re paying attention, but what is it, exactly, that we’re paying attention to?

Why paying attention is anything but elementary found at the BBC Future blog