SELECTIVE ATTENTION – How and Why

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selective attention

Have you ever felt that you wanted to do something but you are not able to find enough time and space to do it? You attempted it many times but kept failing. You are all set to finally sit down and start what matters and boom!! All of a sudden a distraction comes up. It appears as if someone is conspiring against you so that you are not able to achieve what you want to. Try and follow selective attention!

Distractions

Many times you resolve to complete a task or do something you feel most essential for your carrier or self-development. However, distractions are just impossible to dodge. You sit down to start and the mobile starts ringing, a notification on IG takes your attention away, an email from the boss creates ripples in your mind or kids do something wherein you have to get up and attend to the cause. It does not matter how many times you try but you are not able to win over distractions. After attending to the causes, many a time the focus is gone. Doesn’t this experience sound like we all have lived it?

Selective attention

Selective attention is a process of giving attention or focusing on a task, event, or object for a certain period. Selective attention allows us to spend our attention decisively as attention is a limited resource. Thus concentrating on one aspect and ignoring other stimuli is what selective attention involves.

How many times you have come across a situation wherein while driving a car you missed out on several other details which your brain decided as non-essential. Selective attention can be auditory or visual. There are various theories (such as Broadbent’s filter model, memory selection theory, etc.) defining how we filter stimuli and divert our attention to what our brain thinks is important. 

What selective attention does?

What selective attention does is, it allows us to tune out unimportant details around us. That way we can focus on what matters. It then does not matter if the environment is too noisy or the phone rings. The mind remains with the task chosen and does not switch to other tasks. If one master’s this, distractions will no longer control the outcome. Distractions will still be there but they will have no power over you anymore. You will be able to ignore them so that you give full undivided attention to the process in which you always wanted your full attention. 

Benefits of selective attention

Surprisingly, mental capabilities multiply if we have more focus on the work we do. Thus selective attention actually can prove to be a game-changer. By giving undivided attention to learning a new skill or reading a new book, the process of absorption becomes better and results are much better. 

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