. We outline a design based theory of motive processing and attention, including: multiple motivators operating asynchronously, with limited knowledge, processing abilities and time to respond. Attentional mechanisms address these limits using processes differing in complexity and resource requirements, in order to select which motivators to attend to, how to attend to them, how to achieve those adopted for action and when to do so. A prototype model is under development. Mechanisms include: motivator generators, attention filters, a dispatcher that allocates attention, and a manager. Mechanisms like these might explain the partial loss of control of attention characteristic of many emotional states. 1. Introduction A mother whose child has been run over reported that, for a long time afterwards, she found her thoughts constantly and unwillingly drawn back to the event, to what she might have done to prevent the accident, to what the child might have been doing had it not occurred. S..