Attention is an expression of the person's interest in a particular object or subject, the selective focus of perception on the subject.
Some specialists consider the compulsorycomponent of the process of perception, others are sure that this is a special state of man. Some people hold the opinion that attention is an independent mental process, the same as memory, sensation, etc. Finally, another group of scientists is sure that attention and its properties are a process that permeates all psychic levels.
All specialists divide the concept into several types: attention is involuntary, arbitrary, post-operative.
Involuntary (unintentional) attention arises without effort, in itself. A bright flash, a loud sound, an unfamiliar picture can attract a person suddenly, without effort on his part.
Arbitrary attention is determined by the will of the individual. It occurs when a person has a goal, an installation. Strong efforts are required for its manifestation.
Attention is always determined by the interest of a person,his attitudes, the ability to concentrate, the psychological properties of the individual. All these features determine the basic properties of attention. There are six in total.
• Sustainability. This temporal characteristic determines the ability of an individual to concentrate for some time on an activity or an object. Sustainability depends on an awareness of the goal, attitude to the object or activity, the degree of interest. It is for this reason that it can be different for one person in certain situations. Naturally, different people have different stability.
The opposite of stability is scattered attention.
• Subject. At the heart of this property of attention lies the object or phenomenon, to which attention must be directed. There is no simple attention, it must be attracted to something. Therefore, absolutely senseless are the appeals of adults like: "Children! Be attentive! ». Without specifying an object on which you want to concentrate, you can not draw attention to it.
• Concentration or ability of consciousness to allocatemain thing. In this process, the perception field is narrowed, while the significance of the information obtained increases. On the physiological level, this can be explained as follows: inhibition occurs in all parts of the cortex, except one, which at this moment is excited and becomes dominant.
• Distribution. It is a person's ability to simultaneously track several actions, objects or subjects at once. Caesar was known for being able to simultaneously reproduce 7 actions, Napoleon dictated 7 documents. One learned psychologist could write down one poem, while reading aloud while reading another. If we analyze the properties of attention, then the ability to distribute is less common. In fact, a person is able at a single point in time to process only one object. All the rest is the ability to instantly switch from subject to subject.
• Switching. A conscious transposition of attention from an object to an object, from one subject to another, the transition of one type of action to another promotes rest, helps to better concentration.
• Volume. This is the quality of objects that the brain is able to perceive simultaneously. It can not be trained.
Scientists are sure that all the properties of attention -its volume, concentration, switching, distribution and stability - in the overwhelming majority of cases do not depend on each other. For example, a weak concentration of attention does not mean its small volume.
Violation of attention depends on the state of a person and can be caused by stress, brain damage, illness. Not all the properties of attention usually suffer, but some of them.
One of the most common violationsis absent-mindedness. It has two reasons. First: inability to concentrate. The second: immersion in the work, excluding all other processes and objects. This is the so-called "professorial absent-mindedness" peculiar to people who are immersed in solving a problem and do not pay attention to other aspects of life.