- "Everyone knows what attention is," wrote William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890). "It is the taking possession by the mind in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought...It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state." (James' younger brother Henry was the writer of the Wings of the Dove, The Portrait of a Lady, other novels and stories.) Attention is important to learning. Learning is most efficient when a person is paying attention. Poor attention can be a key sign of behavior disorders in children such as hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, and learning disorders.
* * *at·ten·tion ə-'ten-chən n1) the act or state of attending: the application of the mind to any object of sense or thought2 a) an organismic condition of selective awareness or perceptual receptivity specif the complex of neuromuscular adjustments that permit maximum excitability or responsiveness to a given class of stimulib) the process of focusing consciousness to produce greater vividness and clarity of certain of its contents relative to othersat·ten·tion·al -'tench-nəl, -'ten-chən-əl adj
* * *at·ten·tion (ə-tenґshən) 1. selective awareness of a part or aspect of the environment. 2. selective responsiveness to one class of stimuli.
Medical dictionary. 2011.