Development of attention
The analysis of child development by associative psychologists revealed problems in a number of aspects, in particular regarding the selectivity of perception of the child. The problem was that when a child eats an apple, he gets a sensation not only from the apple, but also from the clothes he is wearing, and from the environment in which he is, and from his own breathing, etc. However, these extraneous Sensations are not part of the complex that underlies the image of the apple. For the interpretation of this phenomenon, one more condition was defined for the appearance of the image of the object or the penetration of the sensation into consciousness. This condition has been called the "attention process". In the opinion of associative psychologists, in order for this or that sensation to become part of the image in the future, a person must be attentive to this feeling.
Unlike a child, an adult person is able to control the process of attention, for example, concentrating on thinking about something or listening to a certain sound. A child of infant age is not able to perform such actions. To explain the causes of the complexes of sensations, associative psychologists began to talk about special attention of the child. In particular, that if an adult manages his attention (he decides which object will be the object of his attention), then the child everything happens the other way around: the object as if attracts his attention. So, the child's attention will most likely be attracted by the object bright, or emitting sound, or in contact with the child's body.
According to associative psychologists, attention has two forms: passive involuntary and active arbitrary. These forms characterize two stages of mental development - the first is earlier, the second - the later. Involuntary attention arises when an impression that is not yet associatively associated with already existing impressions turns out to be quite intense. It acts on consciousness in an exciting way and draws attention to itself. In addition, involuntary attention is caused by impressions firmly associated with the ranks. As an example, you can bring a collector, for whom the subject of the collection will always be of interest.
Involuntary attention is the primary form of attention. Secondary attention is the result of later development. It involves a process of choice between the two primary forms of attention associated with irritants of sufficient strength. The choice is accompanied by alternation of attention.
In a particular situation, attention can be characterized by a reverse transition from secondary to primary attention, when one of the competing ideas prevails and draws the attention of a person on the principle of primary attention. This is the so-called post-individual attention. So, if a child initially listens to the story of an adult without much interest, is distracted, and an adult constantly compels him to listen, then at some point it may happen that he begins to listen to the story with bated breath. In this case, the adult will no longer need to encourage the child to attention. In this example, it is quite obvious that the child initially makes an effort to focus on the content of the story, and in the future attention is organized according to the type of involuntary.
The role of attention is that, by focusing consciousness on one side of the impression, a person, as it were, makes it more convex and gives it a greater subjective meaning. The transition to focusing on the other side of the impression is due to the fluctuations of attention.
An important child's attention tool is the child's hand. The fact is that touch, in the opinion of associative psychologists, automatically ensures contact of the child with the object, when he takes it into his hand and thereby separates it from the surrounding situation. Therefore, that the child was attentive to the object, he should feel it. In this way, associative psychologists are confronted with the fact that the mental processes in the child's mind differ from the processes occurring in adults. Hence the idea of the existence of lower and higher mental functions arose.
As already noted, the explanation of the attention process for associative psychologists was particularly difficult: on the one hand, attention is characterized by activity and in fact must be arbitrary in order to perform the function of selecting incoming impressions from external objects. On the other hand, recognizing the infant's highest form of attention means sinning against the truth. But already at the first stages of life the child has a need to explain the selectivity of incoming impressions, because otherwise the whole associative model of the psyche becomes shaky.
Associative psychologists have been offered the following explanations of the process of attention:
1) development of the motor habits of the child: when the child mastered some movement, after a while it could be carried out without control from the side of attention (thereby the consciousness was freed from control over this movement). As an example, you can cite the development of running. At the initial stage, running for the child presents significant difficulties, but after he learned to run, another task may be put before him - to roll the hoop. In this case, the child does not pay attention to the running itself; focuses on controlling the movement of the hoop. Thus, associative psychologists argued that the degree of attention will depend on how much the child has mastered a particular material and how much he or she has learned a particular skill;
2) the intensity of the force affecting the child objects: the greater the force of the object, the more attractive it is for the child;
3) the interest of the child: if the impression causes the child's interest, then all attention will be focused on it. Interests can arise on the basis of organic needs, practical activities, emotional experiences. Therefore, one of the tasks emphasized by associative psychologists is the formation of the child's interest in the material being studied;
4) waiting for an event. For example, when a child expects a signal from an adult (verbal indication) to perform an activity, his attention is concentrated.
The activity of attention is characterized by the fact that it does not disclose new content, but makes the content more clear. It seems to concentrate the mind and narrow the child's mental sphere to the field of the most clear vision in such a way that the impression at the center of this field is perceived clearly, and the impressions that have appeared on the periphery are more vaguely or not perceived at all
5) the word as a mechanism for managing attention. In this case, the word controls attention in a special way: attention as it slides through the word, heading towards its meaning, meaning. Associative psychologists gave an explanation of the principle of associations. Associations are characteristic not only for the connection of two images (or representations) among themselves, but also for the formation of a whole series of representations, where the representations are connected to each other in a long chain. The same principle extended to the verbal ranks. With his help they explained the child's assimilation of speech. The first step is to link sounds and form a single word. Later the child begins to associate the visual image with the word and learns to associate words in sentences, and when he learns to write, associates with the letters the sound and visual images, which are also associated with the movement of the hands. Thanks to this, it becomes possible to avoid the sound side during the letter and to address immediately to the visual image.
The operation of such mechanisms was used to explain the differences in the activity of the proof-reader and the writer. When a writer writes a text, he does not notice the very word that expresses the thought, since all his attention is focused on the content of the phrase. Therefore, a writer can easily miss a typo if it does not distort the meaning of the phrase. The corrector, however, pays more attention to writing words, rather than on the content of phrases;
6) movement as a mechanism of attention. It can be initiated by the subject himself or by some object (for example, when an insect creeps along the body of a person and attracts attention to himself);
7) A special mechanism of attention is the presence of a mental trace. If a person has a mental trace, he will attract attention with greater ease. So, in the crowd, we quickly find a familiar face against the background of unfamiliar faces precisely because it has left a mark on our mind.
Attention at the initial stage is involuntary. It is based both on reflex attention, and on attention related to interest. Rudiments of attention are manifested, for example, in the reaction of child's fading, the expansion of pupils. Gradually the child begins to react to weak stimuli and concentrates on objects to which he had previously been indifferent, either because they were interesting to him now, or because they were linked in the child's mind with the object that had interested him earlier. For example, if a child liked any food, he will easily begin to be interested in the process of preparing it. Similarly, when the situation becomes familiar and familiar, every new object that gets into it will attract our attention. In addition, already in the first year of life, the child has attention based on interest in any objects (for example, a familiar animal, toy, book).
With age, strong-willed attention increases, and a special role in its development is given to exercise and habit. In many respects this is due to the fact that it becomes easier for the child to restrain his head and fix his sight on the object. Similarly, attention develops, reinforced by the child's decision to do something. Arbitrary attention is based on the habit of attention, which appears in the form of repeated readiness to concentrate in the performance of any activity. For example, such a habit is developed when a teacher enters the classroom, and all children get up before the lesson, signaling their willingness to be attentive.
Associative psychologists noted that in the preschool age the ability to voluntary attention is not sufficiently developed. Any external object can distract a child's attention, so it is extremely difficult for him to concentrate. Knowing this, teachers try to organize classes so that nothing hinders the activity of the child in the class. At the same time, familiarization with the material is built in such a way that it evokes interest from the child.
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