Why does courtroom attention blink?
Posted On June 19, 2021
Posted May 06, 2018 12:04:33In a court room, you’ll hear judges, lawyers and corrections officers talking about the same thing: Attentional blink.
“There are two basic types of attentional blink,” says Professor Susan Skelton.
“Attentional blinking is when a person can focus on a particular thing without having to consciously look at something else.
That is the kind of attention you see in a person’s brain when they are paying attention to something, such as a video or text message.”
Skelton says people with attentional blinks tend to have more complex thinking and less emotional expression.
And when they do, they may struggle to remember important details in court.
But it’s not always obvious how much time a person spends thinking about something and how much they’re really paying attention.
“A lot of the time, it’s hard to know because it’s a lot of stuff that’s happening in front of their eyes,” says Skelson.
She says people who have attentional blinking problems can have difficulty with focusing and remember details.
“You may be thinking about the fact that you have to leave work to go to court, and that you might have to call your doctor to see if you have an allergic reaction or have a heart attack or whatever.
And you may be focusing too much on the details of that.
You may be missing the real problems that are going on in your life.”
The problem with the term “attention blink”In courtrooms, it can be hard to see what’s going on around you, and judges may feel uncomfortable telling people with a problem that they can’t see it.
So some courts have coined the term attention blink to describe the difficulty they often see people with.
Skelman says it’s difficult to say what is causing it.
“There are all kinds of factors that contribute to it,” she says.
“The more complicated the system is, the more attention that’s going to be drawn to that problem.”
Skeletal muscles, for example, are usually not fully developed in children.
The brain, she says, develops gradually over time, starting out as a sort of “neural net” that takes the signal of all the brain cells in the brain and distributes it out to all of the brain.
“You don’t have a very good idea of how much information is being communicated in terms of how many neurons and how many synapses,” says Dr. S.D. O’Keefe.
“It’s just the number of connections that the network is making that determines how much it gets to work.
So it’s more like a neural net than a neural aperture.”
So when someone with attention blink problems is in a court, the court may have to tell them, “Look, there’s an adult on the other side of you, but you’re just not paying attention, so you need to go back and listen to us.”
The court will tell the person with attention blinking, “It appears that you need a break, and if you can’t take the break, you can stay home with your parents.
You don’t need to be in court.”
Shelley says this approach, called a “break-and-admit” approach, is more effective than simply saying, “Well, you don’t really need to come in to court because you’re not getting any benefit from it, so go back to sleep and let your parents deal with it.”
Skeptics may argue that a court can’t tell someone what’s happening because they are not in court, but it’s important to know how it works, Skelron says.
The courts use different approaches to deal with different types of cases, depending on what they know about the individual case.
The goal of a break-and.admit approach is to get people back to court quickly, says S.C. Scott, a professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Criminal Justice.
“If we don’t get them in to the court in time, we lose the opportunity to have a long discussion about their needs.”
The process can take days or weeks for the person to get back to their home, and sometimes, even for them to come back to the courtroom, says Scott.
But the court’s goal is to be able to tell people with the attention blink, “Go back to bed.
You’re not a problem for us.”
To help people with their attention problem, S. Scott recommends getting a free and appropriate evaluation.
She also suggests people use their court-appointed lawyer.
“If you’re being given an opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with a judge and the judge’s going, ‘I know this is really hard, but I’m going to take this person back to her court hearing,’ and that’s the way we do that,” she said.
“But when you don of have a court-mandated court hearing