Unit 9 / Final Project
November 10, 2008
Attention is the set process through which you focus on incoming information. (Riegler & Riegler, 2008, pg. 2). Attention is also the limited capacity process devoted to the monitoring of internal and external events. Your ability to attend is flexible – you can direct your attention to that juicy gossip being discussed behind you but it is also limited if you shift your attention, you’re not likely to remember much of what the professor said. (Riegler & Riegler, 2008, pg. 120).
I chose attention because to me, it is the most important cognitive process. I feel that for any of the other processes to be effective you have to be attentive. Attention is the mechanism, whereby we bring information into the focus of conscious awareness. Attention plays a very important role in a long-term memory process. You are more than likely to remember something when you have paid attention when encoding it. The role of attention is considerably more complex than we think or read about, but there is a little doubt that focused attention is necessary for explicit and detailed recollection of some event.
As I am writing this paper, there are numerous sights, sounds and sensations going on around me – the pressure of my feet against the floor, the sight of the street out my window, the soft warmth of my night shirt and the memory of conversations I had throughout the day. Now how do I manage to experience all of these sensations and still focus on just one element of my environment? Psychologists and philosophers William James say that attention is taking possession of the mind, in clear and vivid form. This implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others. We can think of attention as a high lighter. Just think of reading a book, the highlighted section stands out. This causes you to focus on interest areas. To tune out...