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Psycology » General Psychology » Mental processes » Attention

Attention - Orientation of human mental activity on an object. Through this process, we clearly realize perceived that, standing out from the crowd, at some time, is at the center of our perception. Another important function of attention is that this process allows us to navigate the environment as well as to respond to significant changes in the body.

Physiological basis of attention

The physiological basis of attention is orienting reflex "What is?". If any significant change in the environment or in the reticular formation of the body's own response to the new stimulus activates the brain to understand its nature and its provision of adequate response. So, when he heard the sound of a heavy object falling, we react instantly energized all muscles, preparing, if necessary, act quickly to save his own life. At any time, our attention is diverted to the new object - sound, visual image, cold sensation, smell. What we were not busy as we were not passionate about their work, orienting reflex provide our response to the new and unusual signal, ultimately, survival.

Types of attention

Involuntary attention is passive, ie does not depend on our desire and of will. Subject itself imposes itself to us, distracting us from other activities.

Involuntary attention depends on two kinds of reasons: internal and external. External causes are due to force new, the intensity of the stimulus. Attracted the attention of powerful sound, unusual odor, bright color. Especially strong irritant is all moving, pulsating and that it is interesting that we can not immediately identify clearly. So, if located far enough away from us the sound source is not strong enough to hear it clearly, we can not continue to do something, and we constantly listen to what is heard, trying to understand the nature of the stimulus, to identify him. Internal reasons - the ratio of the individual to the different phenomena, facts. For example, a shy person, being alone in the room will be constantly distracted by all sorts of creaking, crackling noises, while the other person, being in the same conditions, will enjoy the peace and enthusiasm, without interruption, to do their work.

Voluntary attention - an active process that depends on our willpower. We force ourselves to focus on any activity or to a particular subject, consciously follow the goal.

Saving a high-level attention requires considerable effort and, therefore, for a long time to consciously focus on something very difficult. This helps clear understanding motives for action - what do I need, what will be the result of the activity. But in this case, external stimuli, and pretty soon the fatigue will affect our ability to concentrate.

Postany attention arises when we are forcing yourself to do anything, fall in love, drawn into the work. Further activities no longer requires willpower - we work because we are interested. In this case, our attention will be stable, and work - productive. We can be distracted only when exhausted or interest when due to fatigue, exhaustion will work protective mechanisms of the psyche - the attention begins to dissipate, ie distracted by stimuli that still were not noticeable.

Properties attention

1. Volume - number of simultaneously clearly perceived objects (usually 5-7) in their simultaneous single presentation.

2. Distribution of attention - the ability to deal simultaneously with two or more things at once. In this case, the amount of attention as it is divided into sectors, each of which provides a more or less full activity.

3. Shifting attention - the ability to quickly move any attention from one activity to another.

4. Stability attention - depth, duration and intensity of attention.

5. Selective attention - the ability to successfully configure the attention or the perception of information on activities related to consciously goal.

Features of note

One of the main features of the attention is the so-called fluctuation of attention - short-term involuntary change its intensity or breach settings object. So, when you try to count the number of pulse beats per minute at some point we find that lost it. The same will happen if we for example, minutes will hear the ticking of mechanical watches. Also easy to observe fluctuations of attention when we consider the truncated pyramid, which seems then convex, then concave.

Attention disorders

Everyone is familiar with this kind of attention disorders as a distraction - a violation of stability of attention, easily distracted by extraneous stimuli - the so-called "flitting attention." Focus of excitation arising under this option attention, weak and unstable, easily destroyed. In children, the first years of life due to distraction functional weakness of the nervous system, fatigue and novelty stimuli. Confusion in adults for many reasons: the weakness of the left in-process, fatigue, depression and stress disorders to physiological mechanisms of higher nervous activity.

There is also a distraction as a unilateral sverhsosredotochennost consciousness in the domestic property - the so-called "professorial absent-mindedness," in which the cerebral cortex arises sverhstoyky focus of excitation "dilatory" a significant part of the conscious activity and allows distracted by extraneous stimuli.


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