Distractibility refers to the shifting of attention from the task at hand to sounds or sights or other stimuli that normally occur in the environment.

If a patient is distractible, his/her attention and conversation changes from topic to topic in accordance with stimuli from within or without, for example in response to visual hallucinations Opens in new window.

Distractibility is closed linked to disinhibition Opens in new window because it relates to a person’s difficulty in controlling impulses to unimportant distractions. A distractible person may not be able to filter out or ignore external distractions, such as random sounds.

Distractibility primarily refers to a problem with controlling the focus of attention, which may shift to unimportant information such as a picture on a wall or a noise from outside a room.

Certain behavioral rating scales can measure distractibility, which can be an important way of determining whether an attention disorder is present.

    Adapted from:
  1. Sims' Symptoms in the Mind: An Introduction to Descriptive Psychopathology By Femi Oyebode
  2. Extraordinary Disorders of Human Behavior By Claude T. H. Friedmann, Robert A. Faguet