Friday, July 8, 2011

Selective Attention

This first picture asks you to identify the full images of the dogs and the full images of the cats. When I first took a look at this picture I could not identify any of the full cats or dogs. I really needed to go back and take another look at the picture to really find the full cat and dog bodies. Can you find the full cat and dog bodies? Have you ever been watching a movie or a television show and was so focused on seeing one certain thing, you missed something very important? This happens to me every time I watch a movie. I always ask the other person that I am watching the movie with to rewind the film because I always miss something very important since I am so focused on something else going on in the movie.

Selective attention is when someone focuses on specific objects and filters out others. According to our textbook and lecture slides many people find certain things in the environment more important than others. While I watch movies I find certain aspects in the movie more important than others. Selection is achieved partially through use of the fovea. The fovea is a very tiny part in our eye that makes objects a lot more sharp and clear to see. The fovea in the eye can make out different movements more clear which can tell your brain the different parts of the environment to pick up on.

Divided attention is when your brain can focus on more than one thing at a time. Whereas, selective attention you only focus on one thing at a time. This attention will pick up on the more important objects in the environment. Selective attention is used when advertisements on the television or even billboards are around. Marketers do this so that they can catch the attention of the viewer for the object that they are promoting. A person’s mind can detect what is more important in an advertisement or even just what they want to focus on. This happens to me all the time, every day. Even while I am at work I tend to focus on just the customer rather than the whole entire store.

This video is a prime example of selective attention.

by: Stephanie Zilinski


  1. For some reason, before taking this class, I always thought it was the opposite. I thought that keeping your divided attention on something meant just focusing on one thing. And with selective attention I thought you focus on many things, but only the things that you are interested in- Everything else would just go in one ear and out the other! Also, I'm the same way as you. Anytime I watch a movie where there is a lot going on at once, I'm forever asking to rewind as annoyed as the person I'm with might get..

  2. Very nice. I love that picture of the cats and dogs. I too had to go back a few times to notice the full dog and cat bodies. I also agree with you on the movie example. I often have to go back to pick up on aspects that I didn't pick up on the first time around. I also think selective attention plays a role in my conversations with people. For example, sometimes I only accidentally pick up on an aspect of a conversation that specifically pertained to me and often have to ask them to repeat what they had said because I missed the rest of the statement.

  3. I had to try twice on your post to find the full cat body and full dog body. I kept thinking it was a trick and there was no full cat or full dog. So I definitely think this was a great post cause you tricked me!