Strong magnet and adjusted filter. Techniques for attention management
Even now, psychologists argue about whether to consider the attention one of the cognitive processes? The doubts of scientists are justified - there is no just “attention” or “attentiveness” as it is. People do something carefully: read, listen, observe, notice the details. Attention only ensures that the person is focused on what is happening at the moment.
Attention figuratively can be considered as a "magnet" and "filter". The first one attracts images of the surrounding world to the consciousness. The second eliminates everything that is currently irrelevant (well, or seems so). Attention training is the enhancement of the “magnet” and the adjustment of the sensitivity of the “filter”.
Have you noticed that for some people it is enough to have a spoon of sugar in their tea, while others put three or four? The former are more sensitive to taste, the latter are less. Or in order to recognize the signal, the second needs stronger stimuli. This difference manifests itself in the level of observation. There are those who are very sensitive to insignificant informational signals. Remember the character of the show "The Phantom" ("Psych"). Or Sherlock Holmes. Most people focus only on the obvious.
Do not be angry at the brain for such neglect of the outside world. It comes in an environmentally friendly way, protecting it from an incredible information flow, constantly attacking you with all its power. But, if you absolutely do not begin to counteract this, the brain becomes lazy very quickly, and you will receive only scant scraps, vital for orientation in space and time. And age also aggravates this problem.
Hello, the details!
To begin with, we will test your observation skills. Can you answer these questions:
• What are the numbers on the dial of your watch? And the arrows? And what is the color of the dial?
• Can you reproduce the font of the sms written? Its color? And the background color?
• How many steps do you run from the front door to the office or apartment? What do railing look like?
• What is written on the bulletin board, which you pass every day?
Just do not write off your confusion to a bad memory. After all, you see it in front of you all the time. This is primarily a matter of inattention. Simple games will help to train attention. They can be played literally during the walk.
For example, when leaving your home or office:
• start looking intently at objects that constantly surround you (door, steps, walls, benches in the yard), pay attention to their features - color, shape, size;
• before looking at them, restore their images in memory;
• check the accuracy of images, comparing with the "original";
• praise yourself for the right answers;
• make corrections where you made a mistake and check yourself again next time.
Recall a famous picture like “My wife or my mother-in-law”, where you can see either the profile of a young woman, or an unattractive old woman. Or the famous drawings of Escher. Gestalt psychologists emphasize that if we do not determine what to place in the center of our attention, many plots that are important for us will remain just something secondary. In simple words we will not notice them.
Exercise "Changing the shape and background"
The simple rule to swap the figure and the background is pushing the usual horizons of consciousness and attention. We sort of “reconfigure filters”. Pay attention to what surrounds the "figure", and you will find many new, previously eluded elements. It is even possible that a familiar picture, event or plot will acquire new meanings for you.
This developmental attention exercise can be done even when you are watching a movie. Transfer the view from the main actors, where the authors of the film are aiming you, and examine other parts of the frame - what is left, right, above, below, behind the characters? By the way, this is exactly how various “bloopers” are revealed. Periodically distract from the center and consider the frame as a whole.
In a word, do not let your mind automatically filter out what it most unceremoniously decided to hide from you!
Exercise "Here and Now"
Try to listen to the conversation with yourself. What are you talking about? Most often one of two things: either you remember the past, or you plan for the future. But you do not dedicate enough time to the present.
Do you have a free minute? Focus on what you are doing now, how you feel where you are. Take a close look around and the same - inside. Here is the simplest thing you can do:
• look around, trying to notice something that previously did not catch the eye,
• smell and decide what smells like,
• listen to the sounds around you,
• examine your hands,
• listen to your breath,
• feel your body.
Regular execution of such elementary actions will teach you to peer more attentively, to listen attentively and to feel more acutely. In other words - being attentive to the fact that in itself would not have attracted your attention. And then extraordinary observation will be the reward for you.
So, do not rush to give control of the magnet and filter to the mind! Simple exercises and simple games for attention to detail and background do not even require special time (just fill with them some free minutes of your life). If you want to achieve more serious results, then on our website you can take a course of exercises for the development of the brain. Our exercises will help you in the development of observation.