Our world is a constant stream of sensations and thoughts that flood our mind. Without an ability to selectively filter this flood, our minds would be chaos.
This ability to select is "attention" and is critical to almost all cognitive functions, such as memory, language, and decision making.
In a special issue of the journal Neuron on cognitive architectures, Professors Sabine Kastner and Tim Buschman propose a novel unified theory of attention that integrates the wide-ranging body of literature on attention, describing how the brain controls attention, how attention acts to filter representations in the brain, and how attention interacts with other cognitive functions.
From Behavior to Neural Dynamics: An Integrated Theory of Attention