Top-down attention


What is top-down attention? It’s best described as a network researched in neuroscience,Some would describe it as the approach of deciding which restaurant you would rather go eat at, by thinking back on your past experiences, memories, values. Bottom-up on the other hand would be seeing an advert for a restaurant, and then going inside to think about if you like it or not, and then deciding, I love it, let’s go eat there!

The Top-Down Filter

So in top-down attention, information has to come from the inside outwards. For bottom-up, information comes from the outside, and is then contrasted with what you feel on the inside. This means introverts aren’t more contemplative than extroverts, but that introverts contemplate first, and act later. Stereotypically, extroverts take in first, and contemplate after. Perhaps because of this, introverts are described as more subjective. Their perception is more biased and self-controlled and less grounded in external reality.

So the top-down attention can be described as filtered. The top-down type may filter out any information around them while in contemplation. They will consider their own thoughts first and they may miss out on crucial information, such as if the restaurant is still open, or if there have been any new burgers released. But as an advantage, introverts can consider crucial information, such as what restaurant they usually like to go to, or what they usually prefer.

Do warning receptors make us into top-down thinkers?

If you prefer to use the top-down attention, you have an overall higher amount of warning receptors in your brain. When warning receptors are higher, your brain is signalling to you to go inwards first. When they’re lower, you’re more likely to start with bottom-up attention.