Selective Attention: In The Zone

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The psychological idea of selective attention rings true in many aspects of life. People often focus on one important interest, while minimizing others surrounding it. I believe this is important because we often miss out on other equally important events or information throughout life because we are more focused on our stronger interest at the moment. My dad, for example, personifies selective attention perfectly. He has lived a life constantly surrounded by four women, which caused him to become incredibly selective in what he pays attention to. His selective attention is sometimes so extreme that we can have extensive conversations or perform several tasks and, if asked about them, he would have no clue, but would know exactly what was happening on the TV. Or, for instance, people often seek out news stations that correspond to their personal views, which cause them to remain blind to different or opposing views. This sort of selective attention can easily end up giving people a very narrow perspective resulting in extreme politics or a lack in knowledge regarding a wide range of subjects. Also, when we are driving, we concentrate on more important variables like cars and pedestrians and can switch our attention to things like signals, yet we are also able to ignore less important things while driving because of our selective attention. A couple questions still arise: Is the change in arousal/importance level automatic, or deliberate? Do we only consciously decide to avoid less arousing/interesting subjects, is it all subconsciously, or a little of both?

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I think that the political example is really more of a confirmation bias than a selective attention. The other news channels are not on so they can't attend to them at all. Why has being around four women given your dad selective attention?

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This page contains a single entry by nels6990 published on October 2, 2011 10:20 PM.

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