Actually thought of this a while ago in the neuroscience course I took this year (not as hard or impressive at it sounds…nonscience major course, ie very general). Selective attention is simply the ability to pay attention to a certain stimulus. It’s the ability that lets you be in a room full of people and conversations and still pay attention when someone mentions your name halfway across the room.
A very taken-for-granted ability, selective attention also allows you to tune out the noise or distractions around you when you need to concentrate on something. (I should be trying to improve my selective attention…). Nothing like being able to ignore petty distractions!