People have the ability to attend to one thing in the
environment, whether it be a person we are talking to or a piece of
music, seemingly blocking out things that are not important. But
if something unexpected or important happens elsewhere in the
environment, they need to quickly change their focus. Achieving a
balance that allows us to concentrate on something but remain sensitive
to important events around us presents a challenge to the brain.
Over the last decade, I have studied the relationship between neural
systems that maintain that balance.