Attention Properties - Fundamentals of General Psychology

Attention properties

The attention of a person has the following properties: concentration, distribution, volume, switchability, stability.

The concentration of attention is the concentration of the subject on the object, the power of absorption by this object. Concentration of attention means that there is a focus in which the conscious activity of a person is collected.

A property opposite to concentration, absent-mindedness, i.e. inability to focus on anything specific for a long time. There are genuine and imaginary absent-mindedness. Imaginary absent-mindedness is the result of great concentration and narrowness of attention. Sometimes it is called "professorial", as it is often found in people engaged in solving scientific problems. The attention of the person in this case is so concentrated on the problem being solved that he does not notice the minor things, in his opinion, of things, he does not hear the questions addressed to him. The physiological cause of imaginary absent-mindedness is a powerful focus of excitation in the cerebral cortex that causes inhibition in the surrounding areas. The unclear reflection of external influences with scattered attention is explained by the fact that it occurs in areas of the cortex that are in a state of inhibition.

All great researchers possessed an exceptional ability to concentrate thought on the main subject. Socrates decided to take part in the war and joined the marching column of troops. On the way, he went into the resolution of some philosophical question and stopped in the middle of the road, deep in thought. When he came to, it turned out that he stood for several hours, far behind the troops.

True absent-mindedness is the inability to keep attention on an object or action for a long time. Physiologically, the true absent-mindedness is explained by the insufficient force of internal inhibition. Excitation, which occurs under the action of speech signals, is easily scattered, but hardly concentrates. As a result, unstable foci of optimal excitability are created in the cerebral cortex.

The amount of attention is the number of homogeneous objects (usually 7 + 2), which are covered simultaneously. The number of subjects in the field of attention may be more than nine. It depends on how meaningful and how related these elements are. The amount of attention in children is less than in adults, usually 5 + 2 elements.

Attention distribution is the ability to perform several types of actions simultaneously; the ability to control several independent processes without losing any of them from the field of attention.

In some professions, the distribution of attention becomes particularly important. Such professions are the profession of pilot, chauffeur, dispatcher. The distribution of attention is very important for the teacher, who often has to do several things at the same time. The teacher explains the lesson and at the same time follows the class, often writing something on the board.

The distribution of attention depends on a number of conditions, primarily on how different the various objects are related to each other and how the actions between which attention is distributed are automated. The more closely the objects are connected and the more significant the automation, the easier the distribution.

Switching attention is the ability to intentionally shift attention from one object to another. There are intentional (arbitrary) and unintentional (involuntary) attention switching. Intentional switching of attention is done by the will of the person, and the unintentional happens by itself, often unnoticed by consciousness. Unintentional switching of attention should be considered not only as a negative quality. It often contributes to the temporary rest of the body, the analyzer. Thus, the high efficiency of the nervous system and the organism as a whole is maintained.

Fast or slow switchability depends on:

1) temperament;

2) physical condition: for a tired person, attention switching is slowed down;

3) the content of the preceding and subsequent activities: if the previous activity is more interesting, the switching is slowed down.

There are four classical types of the central nervous system, and accordingly, four types of temperament - choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic. People with different temperament properties can switch their attention at different rates, hence, they will switch from one activity to another at different rates. It is important for the teacher to take into account the peculiarities of the attention shifting among his students.

Choleric is a fast-paced, hot, energetic person. Example of choleric - A.C. Pushkin. His reaction is instantaneous, lightning fast. It can quickly and easily switch from one type of activity to another, after rest quickly join in the work. However, after work, as well as after the conflict, is not able to calm down right away, since the propensity for excitation is stronger than for inhibition.

Sanguine - a mobile, cheerful, lively, addicted person. Sanguine is able to quickly switch. Therefore, it easily switches from one emotional state to another, from one activity to another, quickly rebuilds and changes stereotypes of behavior, easily passes from rest to work and vice versa.

Phlegmatic is characterized by a slow switchability, therefore, the reaction during the transition from one activity to another is slowed down. Its characteristic feature is thoroughness and slowness. Phlegmatic slowly enters the work, but necessarily brings it to the end. Phlegmatic will annoy, for example, the requirement of urgent restructuring, revisions, changes in plans, etc.

Melancholic is a person whose excitation process and inhibition process are reduced, so he is prone to depressed mood and gloomy thoughts. He can not always switch quickly, so he is lost in difficult situations and can not always quickly find a way out of a difficult situation. He needs more orderly living conditions. He can successfully fit into the social environment, provided that he is judiciously assessed and properly treated by others.

In organizing the learning process, teachers should remember that it is better to choreograph and sanguine person to conduct classes at a fast pace, to operate large blocks, you can quickly switch from one type of work to another. They will easily keep up with the fast transitions of the teacher's thoughts, be reconstructed from one activity to another. It is also necessary to take into account the fact that just as quickly students of these types of temperament are distracted from the topic of the lesson, they switch to more interesting topics and deeds.

Phlegmatic and melancholic can not quickly switch attention, so they better enter the material slowly, thoroughly, without jumping from one thought to another, without missing even the least significant, seemingly mental operations.

Stability - the length of time, during which the concentration of attention. The stability of attention depends on the nature of the material, the degree of its difficulty, the intelligibility, the attitude of the subject to it. An important condition for maintaining the stability of attention are alternating voltage and relaxation, as well as the possibility of removing excessive stress.

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