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Attention

How do you define the concept of attention?

 The concept of attention can be defined as the mind taking possession of our thoughts or actions causing the use of mental effort or concentration on a task or object.  The amount of attention needed depends on the situations complexity and the amount of experience an individual has with the situation.  The use of mental energy is needed to “pay attention”, but energy is limited and needs to be devoted to the situation at hand, meaning the more complex the situation, the more energy is used.  Additionally, the less experience and more complex the situation, more energy is required  (Golatti, 2014).

Can attention be consciously allocated to tasks?  Why or why not?

 Although the majority of attention allocation occurs at the unconscious level, it can occur at the conscious level as well.  For instance, when a person initially learns to drive a car, they consciously allocate their attention to pushing the right pedal and steering.  Over time, the processes of the behavior become a habit and the attention is automatically allocated at the unconscious level.  When a person is multi-tasking, it is largely due to the conscious level of attention allocation as well.  Therefore in the initial exposure of a task or object, attention is allocated purposely, or at the conscious level, but over time, the mind automatically allocates where attention is to be applied at the unconscious level (Golatti, 2014).

What is the relationship between attention and cognition?

 Attention and cognition are interrelated meaning that work together to perform tasks.  Attention is the ability to concentrate while shutting out distractions that may interfere with the task at hand.  Cognition is the thought processes of the brain involved in the learning process.  When an individual attempts to concentrate, or apply attention to a certain task, cognition is required to kick on in order for the information to be processed, learned and stored for future use.  Since they are interralated, when attention is limited, cognition is also limited.  However, it is also possible to manipulate the relationship to cause improvements.  Manipulation techninques can be used to increase concentration whhich increases the attention span causing an improvement in cognition, or the ability to learn new information (Golatti, 2014).

 Reference:

Galotti, K. M. (2014). Cognitive Psychology: In and Out of the Laboratory, (5th ed.).  Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database

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