Split attention is a ‘feature’
“neuroscientists have determined that humans lose focus on whatever task they’re participating in four times a second in order to take stock of their environment. Since a similar study with macaques (short-tailed monkeys found in regions of Asia and Africa) achieved the same result, researchers believe that this shift in focus is an evolutionary tool primates use to react to an ever-shifting environment and avoid threats from predators. On one level, this is an excellent example of embodied cognition in action. On another level, this shows that the brain shifts between the CEN and the DMN far more often than humans are consciously aware of and that the DMN serves an additional purpose of keeping us safe from factors outside of our immediate attention. Yet despite this oscillation in focus, humans continue to perceive these moments as one continuous stream, to create a narrative out of what is little more than a series of mental snapshots.”
— Augmented Mind: AI, Humans and the Superhuman Revolution by Alex Bates
Thompson noted something similar in his book Waking, Dreaming, Being. “The referenced experiments showed that we tend to perceive a stimulus when there is a peak in a brain wave cycle, and not so when it hits a trough. That is, much like the longer waking and sleeping cycle, brain wave cycles that happen in milliseconds have a similar effect on perception. These experiments support the hypothesis of discrete, phasic moments. This holds true even for sustained attention of the meditative type. It’s true that such meditative focus increases our ability to sustain attention, yet it is not continuous and… Read more »
There must some incredible machinery translating such basic sensory mechanisms into what is consciously perceived… Along that line I’ve always thought binocular vision is a fascinating example. Out of two disparate 2d images the mind creates 3d vision, which is accurate to our 3D reality, but how does our mind do that? That is quite a translation.