Attention and personality, Essence, functions and...

Attention and Personality

Entity, functions, and types of attention

The implementation of any activity requires a person's attention. Even in the game, children must constantly keep in the sphere of their attention the relevant rules, the events that occur and their dynamics. Often they are so focused on this that it is difficult for them to shift their attention to anything else. Steady attention requires all kinds of work. Failure to maintain attention at the work site leads to a decrease in the quality of the product produced. Without concentrated attention, it is impossible to achieve high results in art, sports and teaching. If the student does not focus on the perception of the teaching material, he will not be able to understand it, highlight the main thing in it and memorize it. Calls: Be careful! are able to hold attention only for a short time, after which many children (and adults) are again and inevitably distracted. The management of the attention of students is one of the important tasks that the teacher decides in one way or another during the lesson.

At each given moment, our consciousness is directed to a particular object. A person either perceives something, or thinks about something, remembers or imagines something.

Attention is the selective focus and focus of a person's consciousness on a specific object that has a stable or situational significance for a person, while distracting from other objects.

Attention can be directed to both external objects of reality ( external attention), and to your inner world ( internal attention).

Attention is paid to the special state of the whole organism, in which internal psychic activity, external motor activity, and activity of the brain (physiological level of attention) change. Mental activity focuses on the object. The motor side of attention is manifested in specific pose of attention. With external and internal attention, the poses are different. External attention is characterized by a turn of the head and a look focused on the object, it is possible to hold the breath. With inner attention, a person often closes his eyes or his eyes hover, concentrating on nothing. A teacher on these characteristics can determine whether the student's attention is focused on the content of the lesson or he thinks about something.

At the physiological level, attention is provided by the excitation of the reticular formation as a mechanism for activating brain activity; induction of nervous processes and the emergence of dominant.

The concept of induction was widely used by Pavlov to explain the laws of higher nervous activity.

Induction is manifested in the fact that the excitation process that occurs in one area of ​​the cerebral cortex causes inhibition in other areas of the brain.

The dominant is called temporarily dominant in the cerebral cortex, the focus of excitation, which inhibits other reflexes and increases with the action of any stimuli.

The dominant phenomenon was discovered by the United States physiologist AA Ukhtomsky (1875-1942).

Attention functions. The main attention function is establishing the psychological connection of the subject with the object to which his consciousness is directed at the moment, and ensuring clarity and clarity of object reflection .


If the pupil is distracted while doing his homework, imagining, for example, the upcoming sports competitions, he can make mistakes, make omissions, ignore the details. As a result, his activities will be ineffective, and the task will be performed poorly.

The second attention function is manifested in the fact that it performs selection and systematization of perceptual data. The external world is infinite, and the human consciousness is limited. Attention like a filter lets in the mind only the most important information, so the process of attention is often compared to a funnel or a bottle neck.

Another important function of attention is considered to be the improvement of the quality of the activity for which it is directed. However, it is possible that the involvement of attention affects activities destructively if it is connected to activities previously automated, fixed.

Attention functions in various spheres of human consciousness: sensory, mnemonic, intellectual. Own product does not care. On this basis, some psychologists considered it advisable not to use the concept of "attention" at all. The Danish psychologist E. Rubin even wrote a scientific article titled "Non-Existence of Attention". With this treatment attention can be disagreed if it is recognized that its specific product is the improvement of the result of activity. Attention ensures the completeness and depth of perception, memory, thought and imagination and thus acts as a condition for the success of knowing the surrounding reality. In this sense KD Ushinsky called attention door, through which pass all the knowledge and impressions from the outside world. The more clearly an object appears in a person's consciousness, the more active and productive becomes his activity with him, which, in turn, ensures his deeper knowledge.

Establishing a connection between a person's consciousness and a reflected object is a two-way, mutually conditioned process. On the one hand, the object attracts attention, on the other hand - attention is directed to the object. Accordingly, the factors of appearance and retention of attention on the object can be both the properties of the object itself and the characteristics of the subject. Some people are more subject to the direct influences of the environment and are passive in the choice of objects of attention, others are more active in this regard. Depending on the ratio of such factors, the role of the individual in the regulation of attention can be different: from almost complete passivity to complete consciousness and self-organization. These differences are expressed in the classification of types of attention.

Kinds of attention. There are three types of attention: involuntary, arbitrary and post-personal.

Involuntary , or unintentional , attention is the focus of consciousness on a subject or phenomenon due to some of their characteristics. The ability to such attention is in a person innate, in connection with which LS Vygotsky called it natural. This kind of attention is inherent in man and animals. We can observe in the latter position the attention, for example, in obtaining food or protecting from enemies.

The mechanism of involuntary attention is an orienting reflex. IP Pavlov designated it as "what is", because it manifests itself as an initial reaction to a new stimulus, allowing to adjust the sensory organs to perception new object and decide on its usefulness or danger to the body.

Involuntary attention can arise with different degrees of passivity of a person. With an extreme degree of passivity, it is called forced. NF Dobrynin (1890-1981) pointed out that the individuality and identity of the personality exert a certain influence even in situations of emergence of forced attention. The factors causing involuntary attention are divided into two groups:

• The first group consists of the properties and characteristics of stimuli. First of all, this is new intense stimuli. New structure, new thing, new advertising always attract our attention. A loud sound, a bright flash, a strong push will also make you pay attention. Other factors in this group are the duration of the action of the stimulus, its movement, contrast compared to the background. The change in the characteristics of the acting stimuli, for example, strength or duration, the beginning and the end of the action, also causes attention;

• The second group of stimuli, causing involuntary attention, characterizes their connection with the needs and interests of the subject. If for a person something is particularly significant, it will be in the sphere of his attention. For example, a collector will never pass by objects of his hobby, while other people will remain indifferent to them.


Factors that cause involuntary attention are taken into account in architecture, construction, advertising, printing and other areas. They play an important role in the organization of educational and cognitive activities of students, for example, in the selection and presentation of educational material in such a way as to direct attention to the necessary objects and not distract from the main content of the lesson. Interest in the subject is able to maintain a high level of involuntary attention for a long time. Bright, emotionally saturated material always causes students involuntary attention. This is especially important for primary school, as in younger schoolchildren arbitrary cognitive processes (perception, attention, memory) are still in the stage of formation.

With the expansion of educational subjects and the complication of educational material, reliance on involuntary attention becomes insufficient for the effective organization of learning processes. Not all subjects cause interest in students. Many of them have significant difficulties in understanding the material and the fulfillment of the study assignments. Overcoming them requires students to volition and arbitrary attention.

Arbitrary attention is an organized focus of consciousness on an object or phenomenon. Arbitrary attention has arisen in the process of labor, if necessary, to focus not on what is pleasant or interesting, but on what is needed at the moment; which is important for the successful execution of the action. LS Vygotsky showed that arbitrary attention, which he called "cultural", in contrast to the involuntary, is a mediated process, i.e. carried out with the help of means: signs, speech, task. To acquire these means the child can only in society, in the process of communication and joint activity with adults. Arbitrary attention, as well as arbitrary perception, arbitrary memory, verbal-logical thinking, refers to the higher mental functions of man.


In ontogeny, the development of voluntary attention is carried out gradually. First, adults, with the help of a speech instruction, pointing to the desired object and setting a cognitive or practical task for the child, organize his attention and activity. Then he takes possession of the ability to set himself the task and direct attention to the desired object. Keeping the attention on the subject or actions with him, determined by the task in hand, requires strong-willed efforts and activity of the individual, as the person consciously makes a decision and executes it. It is well known how difficult it is to hold attention when studying a complex and incomprehensible material or under conditions of monotonous and monotonous activity. In such situations, a person not only makes efforts to retain the object of attention, but also experiences these efforts. Such an inner experience of the efforts of LS Vygotsky associated with the process of mastering a person with his attention, a kind of struggle and a victory over those factors and irritants that direct attention to other objects. There are certain tricks in organizing activities that can facilitate this process for students, for example, alternation of various activities, dosed care, active rest.

The psychological content of voluntary attention was discovered by P. Ya. Galperin, the author of the theory of the planned, step-by-step formation of mental actions. He showed that mental actions are the result of interiorization, generalization and reduction. Managing the action based on the image requires control: a constant comparison of the task with its execution. In the initial forms, control is carried out as a detailed objective action. The transformation of control into mental and reduced action changes its nature and functions. Mental control over the course of activity ensures the focus and concentration of consciousness on its performance and result, i.e. is attention. Such control no longer simply evaluates the activity and its result (as happens with external deployed control), but also improves them. This is because attention like

the effect of mental control is carried out on the basis of the previously formed criteria, images and concepts, to which the actions are equated, because the person understands how to act in this situation and systematically carries out the required actions. External control by speech passes into the mental plane and, having contracted, becomes attention.


A teacher can purposefully teach a child attention. To this end, along with the main tasks, students should be given special exercises to check the work done, indicating the criteria, samples, general plan and sequence of specific actions.

Post-mental attention arises when in the process of initially unattractive activity a person is interested in work. Volitional efforts for its continuation are no longer required, which brings the post-mental attention closer to the involuntary. However, unlike involuntary attention, the post-conscious is regulated consciously by the goal and is implemented systematically, playing an important role as a factor that facilitates the fulfillment of difficult tasks by students for a long time. At the same time, they do not experience fatigue in the absence of the need for strong-willed efforts. Fatigue is replaced by a sense of satisfaction and the joy of knowing. The reason for this psychological reorganization of the personality and activity is the complex phenomenon of shifting the motive to the goal (see § 7.1).

When organizing an educational activity, it is important to rely on all three types of attention, managing their dynamics and taking advantage of each kind.

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