Attention: The ability to focus selectively on a selected stimulus, sustaining that focus and shifting it at will. The ability to concentrate.
“Everyone knows what attention is,” wrote William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890). “It is the taking possession by the mind in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought…It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state.”
Attention is important to learning. Learning is most efficient when a person is paying attention. Poor attention can be a key sign of behavior disorders in children such as hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and learning disorders.
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
Attention deficit disorder (ADD): An inability to control behavior due to difficulty in processing neural stimuli. In November, 1998 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a consensus report developed by a panel of experts. The panel concluded that: Ritalin and other therapies may correct classroom behavior problems but there is no evidence that this […]
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
A disorder in which a person is unable to control behavior due to difficulty in processing neural stimuli, accompanied by an extremely high level of motor activity. Abbreviated ADHD. ADHD can affect children and adults, but it is easiest to perceive during schooling. A child with ADHD may be extremely distractible, unable to remain still, […]
- Attention getting
Attention getting: Attention getting is not a simple automatic act. It requires complex active thought processing. The types of stimuli that are attention getting depend on past experience, individual reactivity, and what a person considers to be important. A hungry commuter may pay closer attention to the smell of food than to the surrounding sights […]
Attentional: Relating to attention. The term is used in psychology and child development as, for example, early television exposure has been found to be associated with attentional problems at age 7.
Attenuated: Weakened, diluted, thinned, reduced, weakened, diminished. The use of “attenuated” in medicine is not new. In the 16th century, eating dried figs was claimed to attenuate the body fluids. Now “attenuated” refers to procedures that weaken an agent of disease (a pathogen). An attenuated virus is a weakened, less vigorous virus. A vaccine against […]