Psychology of Attention: Theories and Concepts
The theory of attention of Théodule-Armand Ribot
One of the most prominent theory in the psychology of attention was suggested by Théodule-Armand Ribot in his book “The Psychology of Attention” (1980). He believed that the account, regardless of whether it is impaired or enhanced, is always associated with emotions and it’s called by them. Ribot suggested a particularly close relationship between emotions and voluntary attention. He believed that the intensity and duration of such attention is directly due to the intensity and duration associated with the object of attention of emotional states.
Involuntary attention is also entirely dependent on the affective states. “Cases of deep and sustained involuntary attention show all the signs of tireless passion, constantly renewing and ever-eager to meet.”
State of attention is always accompanied not only by emotional experiences, but also certain changes in physical and physiological condition of the body. Only on the basis of detailed and careful study of this kind of states it can be formed a clear idea of the mechanisms of attention.
T. Ribot emphasized the importance of the physiological relations of mental processes and states, and this affected his interpretation of the attention. Thus, Ribot theory of attetion can be called a psycho-physiological one. Please note, as a purely physiological condition, it has a range of cardiovascular, respiratory, motor and other arbitrary or involuntary reactions.
Smart attention also increases blood circulation of busy thinking organs of the body. State concentration of attention is also accompanied by the movements of all parts of the body: face, trunk, extremities, which, together with the proper organic reactions serve as a necessary condition for the maintenance of attention at the proper level.
The movement, according to T. Ribot physiologically supports and reinforces this state of consciousness. For the senses (sight and hearing) attention means the concentration and delay of movements associated with their setup and management.
Effort that we make, concentrating and keeping focus on something, always has a physical basis. It corresponds to the sense of muscular tension, and then coming distractions associated usually with muscle fatigue in the relevant motor parts of the respiratory systems.
T. Ribot believed that the motor effect of attention is that some of the feelings, thoughts, memories are of particular intensity and clarity compared to the other because all the physical activity is concentrated on them.
The ability to control the movements is the secret of voluntary attention. Randomly restoring movement is associated with something, we thereby draw this to our attention. These are the characteristics of the motor theory of attention proposed by T. Ribot.
The Set Theory by D. Uznadze
Perhaps, it is necessary to consider a theory that links the psychology of attention to the concept of the installation. Set theory of attention proposed by D. Uznadze initially dealt with a special kind of state of a preset, which is influenced by the experience occurs in the body and determines its response to subsequent exposure.
For example, if to give a man two of the same volume, but different in weight objects, then it will be a different weight to assess other similar items. One of them, who will be in the hand, which used to be an easier subject, this one seems heavier, and vice versa, although the two new object are actually in all respects the same. They say that a person manifesting such an illusion, has an installation on the formation of a certain perception of the weight of objects.
Installation, according to D. Uznadze, is directly related to attention. Internally, it expresses the state of human attention. This explains, in particular, why in the impulsive behavior it is associated with the lack of attention in humans, however, there may occur quite certain mental states, feelings, thoughts and images.
The concept of setting in the theory of Uznadze also linked the notion of objectification. It is treated as a selection under the influence of setting a specific image or impression produced by the perception of reality. This image or impression becomes the object of attention (hence the name – “objectification”).
The concept of Galperin
An interesting theoretical point of view on the account offered Piotr Galperin. The main provisions of this theory of attention are the following:
1. Attention is one of the moments orienting-investigatory activity. It is a psychological action directed at the content of the image, thought, another phenomenon that exists at a given time in the human psyche.
2. On account of its function is the control of the content. Every human action is indicative, and performing the control part. This is the last and represents as such by attention.
3. In contrast to other activities that produce a product or activity control, attention, does not have a single, particular result.
4. Attention as a separate, specific act is allocated only when the action is not only intellectual, but also reduced. Not every control should be seen as attention. Control only evaluates the action, while the attention contributes to its improvement.
5. In attention, control is carried out using a criterion that measures the sample, which makes it possible to compare the results of its refinement.
6. Voluntary attention is systematically carried out by the attention, a form of control that runs on a predetermined plan, pattern.
7. In order to create a new method of voluntary attention, we must work together with the main person, to offer the task, to check its progress and results, to develop and implement a plan.
8. All the known acts of attention, performing the function of control as arbitrary and involuntary, are the result of the formation of new mental actions.