Arbitrary attention. Types of attention. Characteristics of voluntary attention

All human cognitive processes are directed to various objects that are reflected in them. Points of knowledge include perception and logical thinking. People are constantly thinking about something, imagining something, dreaming about what attracted their voluntary attention. The essence of man is such, he is a constantly-minded person, without thought he does not function and does not develop in all senses. In the natural perception lies the unbiased attitude of the individual to the world in which she lives and dwells, and the objects that surround her, artificially created by her and natural. Attitude is formed by such a concept as attention. Sensations, thinking, memory, perception - all these feelings have their specific content, including the union of the created image and constant activity.

voluntary attention

  • Perception is a unified process of continuity of the image of the object and the phenomenon of reality.
  • Thinking combines real objective reality and human thought.

Arbitrary attention does not have its own content. It is within all emotional feelings. We are collected, when something attracts our attention, it may be the result of listening or watching, this is a selective focus towards the object. Behind the attention are the interests and needs of the person, if he is interested in something, it will interest him.


In the attention finds a pointed expression of the connectedness of consciousness with the object. The changing intensity of mental activity is determined by the object's clarity in the presentation, these are the features of attention. If it is intent, the object is interconnected with the growing work of consciousness, which determines the degree of initial interest. Attention reveals the relationship between the mental activity of a person and the subject to which he has looked or hearing. The reasons that aroused an interest in a person’s mind are not only in the subject matter, but also in relation to it and vice versa.

formation of voluntary attention

Arbitrary attention is the result of work in psychology, they are closely related. The motive of behavior determines such responses as alertness, willingness to act, vigilance, mobilization. But initially a signal of the beginning of attention is a slowdown in a few seconds, helping to process information.

Forms of attention

Attention is divided into several types, they are expressed in both practical and theoretical functionality. Concentration on a moving object is the first type of interest, it is characterized by an outwardly looking look, keenly watching and moving after the movement, this is an obvious voluntary attention. The second type is close attention due to the internal stingy mental activity. The gaze of a man is almost immobile and fixed at one point. In any case, features of concentration are sets of thoughts and actions directed in one direction, working in a team mode.

Stanislavsky wrote the correct definition on this point: “Attention to an object causes a natural need to do something with it.The action also focuses more on the object. Thus, attention, merging with action and intertwining, creates a strong bond with the object. ”

Theories and Reality

Gestalt psychologists (structural scientists) and representatives of behavioral psychology in the early twentieth century. made very radical attempts to expel the concept of attention from psychological terms. They attached it as a term to reflex attitudes and the structure of the sensory field. However, their mechanistic attempts were not crowned with success, but on the contrary, served as an impetus for a more detailed consideration of the theory, which brought attention to the degree of a separate scientific study.

development of voluntary attention

The primitive, initial forms of attention can be attributed to reflex attitudes, since it is reflexes that are responsible for external stimuli through perception. So, bright objects attract arbitrary attention. Eyesight responds first, sending the corresponding reflex to the brain. Or the ear begins to listen in the direction of the sounds that attracted him. Only reflex installations are only the most primary signs.

types of voluntary attention

The structure of the sensory field explains only part of the aspect, attention cannot be divided into sensory content like attraction and structural one-sided whole. The characteristics of voluntary attention are in distraction, in analytical reflection on all sides of the habitual object being represented.

The kinds of attention that are everywhere explained as functions of the thinking process essentially express only the degree of a person’s attitude to the environment. If a person has the highest forms of attention, this means isolation from nature, opposing it. He gets the opportunity to mentally switch the real situation into a readable context, transform, represent, highlight different points.

At the same time, attention is the relationship between action and thought, the direction of mental processes. Consciousness directs voluntary attention to an object familiar to him at random, sliding and not interfering with the current train of thought. There is no interest and desire. The development of voluntary attention takes place on a subconscious level. The first stage are the same reflex installations.In infancy, the child explores the world through involuntary attention, he is attracted by bright colors and sounds. Over time, involuntary attention is formed into an arbitrary, thereby subordinating unauthorized neurons in the human brain to existing laws. Arbitrary and involuntary attention depends on the conscious intentions and thoughts of the person in the center of his range. He is forced to explore the world in which he lives throughout his life cycle, because he moves and migrates around the planet.


The features of voluntary attention are enclosed in a strange union of one’s own passivity and elements of the activity of the object. In other words, if the arbitrary attention of a person is directed at the object he has studied for a long time, he does not notice anything around, and the slightest change in his focus will be recorded by him. Types of voluntary attention are divided into primary, secondary and third. Return from involuntary back to arbitrary and keep it - this is secondary. For example, to distract from the usual contemplation of the attracting foreign parts and again return to the review, trying to find the previous point of visual contact, means a secondary arbitrary. The suppression of the arising distraction without effort is the third illustration.

Part of pedagogy

The formation of voluntary attention directly determines the initial concentration on the object, which promises us some kind of message. After focusing on something, we evaluate and examine it, stimulating brain activity and mentally collecting a card file of objects and phenomena. The timely development of voluntary attention in children is due precisely to the calculation of the systematization of data, the precise assimilation of the material, regardless of distracting events. To teach a student to master the technique of voluntary attention, it is necessary first of all to cultivate discipline and concentration in him.

arbitrary attention of younger students

The characteristics of voluntary attention of younger schoolchildren depend on the quality of the pedagogical material, its size and the amount of available information that does not overload the students. The correct distribution is achieved with the help of special techniques with exercises aimed at training permanent or indirect study.

Schoolchildren in elementary grades find it difficult to keep attention on educational materials in an unusual number, therefore, psychologists and teachers develop manuals that help the development of involuntary attention in children.Possession of several exercises allows them to more easily transfer the meaning, especially if the techniques are of good quality and are adapted to their age.

Physiology of attention

When attention is turned on, the work of the psyche is greatly enhanced. Neurons send each other signals that characterize the type of emotion, starting with alertness and ending with voluntary attention, intent. The sends of neurons, in turn, affect the whole body, the panic mess of signals is actually a well-coordinated mechanism, but it brings to alert all the other centers of the nervous system.

Attention can be in several stages:

  • concentration;
  • distributability;
  • sustainability.

Concentration means a person is focused on something, it depends on the degree of perception and interest in the subject. Here both the voluntary and involuntary attention can play the main role, they can replace each other, depending on the amount of information.

methods of voluntary attention

The ability to distribute allows you to cover several objects at the same time, and this accumulated ability directly depends on the ability to hold and concentrate voluntary attention.Stability is interrelated with the time variable, the duration of the study.

It is certainly worth mentioning such a thing as attention fluctuations. Sensory clarity is eroded when the organs associated with concentration become weary.

Still, voluntary attention has its roots in involuntary, therefore the basis for the concept of developing methodological manuals for developing the sustainability of the mental process is the discovery of a new characteristic, the secondary feature. In those places where consciousness rests on scanty content with limited learning opportunities, oscillations are inevitable, distracting and not allowing to concentrate. If the topic can open from the unknown side, there are prerequisites for research, voluntary attention can remain stable for a long time. Only the ability to expand the dynamics guarantees the thinking process that affects the progress of voluntary attention.


Do not confuse the absent-mindedness and diversity of the object of interest. Distraction means visual and semantic movement of attention, not fixing any details.At the same time, the probability of the existence of a center for the interconnection of several subjects goes evenly with the work of mental regulators. If all these subjects have a common basis for consideration, the attention will be steady and arbitrary, will carry a semantic background and not dissipate. Arbitrary attention is a separate aspect in psychology.

Mental labor is purposefully combined with a kind of attention. Only the highest forms of understanding can help to process the carrier of informative material. Stability of attention does not exclude the possibility of switching to new objects, without losing the previous semantic load, in these processes internal relations are involved, which make attention flexible.

The ability to switch in all people is different, first of all it depends on the abilities of the individual, on his temperament. Switching can be developed through exercises, but it can also be difficult if you have to move from a situation with involuntary attention to an operation involving an arbitrary.


Arbitrary and involuntary attention is a very important element of consciousness. And the human mind is multifaceted.Thoughts, emotions, willpower - all these mental processes are intertwined with types of attention. Its types are:

  • wide;
  • narrow;
  • distributed;
  • switchable;
  • concentrated;
  • sustainable;
  • unstable;
  • fluctuating.

Scientists noted that voluntary attention, the highest forms of its manifestation are enclosed in physical labor. Routine work qualitatively develops all types of voluntary attention, and this is done on a subconscious level, turning into professional skills. For example, a worker stands and controls the functionality of several machines, without being distracted from the same, checking the invariable shape and quality of production parts.

Baby attention

Children are most susceptible to manifestations of involuntary, often changing attention. A short study of one subject loses all attractiveness with the advent of another. Maintaining voluntary attention has value from an early age. At school age, a small percentage of the ability to concentrate and hold it can play a negative role. A child who is inconsiderate with an object will not be able to study it carefully.His thought process constantly “jumps off” on other topics. Psychologists have long noticed this problem with voluntary attention in children. In exercises aimed at cutting reflexes, manipulation helps well. Children repeat all movements and speech after adults, this factor is effectively used in methods that develop appropriate skills.

features of voluntary attention

The thought-out organization of exercises will allow the kid to master the initial unconscious types of attention; later it will be much easier for him to master the school material. A lesson in an average school takes 45 minutes, because this is the maximum time for the allowable load on a child according to his age. Arbitrary attention of students is calculated from time to volume of materials. Gradually, the kindergartener becomes accustomed to practical classes in modeling or drawing, and the student - to systematic concentration during the week. For educators, it is important that the material they provide is always interesting to the audience, despite the specific content.

Thus, the direction and training of volitional skills are important for the development of voluntary attention.Pupils are able to learn only with the ability to use their ability to analyze in combination with discipline and systematization of the school education system.


Distraction can also be a varying degree of attention. With real absent-mindedness, a person does not even know how to cope with his own everyday life, because his voluntary attention is not developed at all. And second, it may be a consequence of concentrated attention, when a person is focused on solving a problem for a long time, all other elements of life are blurred against the background of a central study in which all nerve endings take part. The mind is arranged in the most incomprehensible and strange way, and in order to manage your own body, you need to find the keys to the mysteries of the human brain. Emotional factors are very mediated, they are born from motives and desires.

Labor activity, which is carried out by a person with the help and because of voluntary attention, goes along with the game in the relationship between people and nature, their own and their surroundings. The actions inherent in children, in fact, accompany the personality all its conscious way.Therefore, the obstacles arising in the course of life, a person sees primarily as a puzzle, and only interest helps him to evaluate and compare the size of the puzzle and make alternative conclusions of the decision. The arbitrary attention of younger schoolchildren grows with them. Meanwhile, only volitional effort entails the development of voluntary attention and vice versa.

The study of the technique of voluntary attention has long been and still is of great practical and theoretical interest. It is one of the methods of in-depth knowledge of the nature of thinking and its inherent laws. A detailed study of attention requires a special analysis of all its processes and parties, the practical interest of teachers and educators in this issue of psychology is quite understandable. To do this, they avoid monotony and routine in their studies, because in order to develop voluntary attention, we must make the subject sound new, open up on the other hand and hint that this is only one of the hidden potential possibilities.

So, we examined the types of attention and highlighted the importance and relevance of the technique, voluntary attention in which, undoubtedly, is a fundamental part along with interest in an object or subject.It is important for teachers to understand the structure of mental development and to understand it for a more specific and capacious presentation of the material. Consequently, any work related to the education of children is directly related to the science of psychology.

No mental work passes without attention. His concentrated assistance has helped and helps people survive, and the diversity of the environment provides knowledge and contributes to the birth of intelligent people with ingenious potential, such as creative individuals with the highest forms of attention. They are able to see and analyze from the new side what others have not appreciated, briefly overlooked. Attention features help them. The most striking example of a scientific discovery is the legend about Archimedes, who turned his voluntary attention to a common phenomenon.

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