As humans, we all use different types of attention to attend to both internal and external stimuli in our everyday lives. In psychology, attention is used to describe the concentration of awareness on phenomenon to the exclusion of other stimuli. Concentration of awareness can either be automatic or controlled, depending on the type of processing employed to elicit attention.
To better understand how attention actually works, attention has often been compared to a highlighter. In a sea of text, a highlighter is used to make certain portions of text stand out more than the rest of the text. Similarly in a sea of competing stimuli, attention causes us to selectively focus our interest, whilst ignoring competing information and stimuli, on certain specifics in our environment. However, not all attention is the same. Mateer’s Hierarchical Attention Model differentiates between attention, categorizing it as divided, sustained, selective or alternating in nature. Although there are various types of attention, today’s post will concentrate specifically on breaking down one type, namely Focused Attention.