Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Attention Worksheet

1.         How do you define the concept of attention?
     Willingham (2007), “attention can be understood to mean the mechanism for continued cognitive processing” (p. 108). Therefore, some preliminary cognitive processing occurs with or without attention, and that attention affords further processing. Attention refers to how an individual vigorously process certain information that is available in the environment. Attention takes control of an individual’s mind in a vivid and clear form. Assume that attention is a highlighter. Anything highlighted stands out, or has attention drawn to it, which causes an individual to focus his or her interest on that particular area or aspect. An individual tunes out non-relevant information, perceptions, and sensations at any moment and focuses on the energy of importance because of attention (Cherry, 2013). Attention has two properties; limitation and selectiveness. An individual can only place certain amounts of attention on one subject at a time. Attention is selective and placed only on one or another cognitive process as an individual sees fit (Willingham, 2007).
2.         Can attention be consciously allocated to tasks?  Why or why not?
     Yes attention is consciously allocated to tasks but it is also not consciously allocated to tasks. The allocation of attention is a task that an individual has control over and does not have control over. If two or more tasks use different sensory output and input paths than an individual can allocate attention to those tasks. An individual possess the ability to assign attention to two or more tasks if he or she performs dissimilar sensory output and input paths. The mind also possesses the ability of honing in on a task while performing other tasks. For instance there are certain tasks, such as body functions that an individual does not consciously pay attention to. The mind possess the ability regulate breathing and an individual’s heartbeat. Therefore, certain aspects of attention are not consciously allocated. Attention is also allocated by habit; basically if an individual’s mind stays focused on one stimulus. In this instance cognitive manipulation and attention become automated and united, which continues the process beyond and individual’s conscious control.
3.         What is the relationship between attention and cognition?
     Science Daily (2013), “attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one thing while ignoring other things” (p. 1). There is an interrelated relationship between attention and cognition. There is a firsthand relationship between attention and cognition. Willingham (2007), “attention can be understood to mean the mechanism for continued cognitive processing” (p. 108). Cognition is a reference to thinking. Attention has a significant effect on cognition and cognition has a significant effect on attention. Simply put, attention is an individual’s ability of focusing on desired activity or desired information for a certain amount of time and that cognition is a thought process, which occurs in an individual’s brain that normally affects an individual’s learning. An individual’s ability to maintain attention on a certain subject is necessary for that individual’s thought processes for learning to occur. When attention problems occur they effectively interfere with learning and cognition. In contrast, the strengthening of the ability to pay attention for certain periods of improves an individual’s cognition.
Cherry, K. (2013). About.com: Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/f/attention.htm 
ScienceDaily. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/attention.htm 

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