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Attention Regarding Cognitive Psychology Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 24th, 2019


This paper explores several published articles that offer report on attention regarding cognitive psychology. The interaction between humans and nature offers cognitive benefits towards attention development (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008).

Attention affects the human memory in various ways and memory development depends on attention (Cowan, Elliott, Saults, Morey, Mattox, Hismjatullina, & Conway, 2005). Attention is important when individuals view objects and images in real-life settings (Torralba, Oliva, Castelhano, & Henderson, 2006).

People’s ability to control their attention is not enhanced by playing computer games (Murphy & Spencer, 2009). The human working memory depends a lot on a person’s attention abilities (Redick & Engle, 2006). Through administering of a medicinal drug referred to as Methylphenidate, Attention-deficit disorder complications can be improved (Aron, Dowson, Sahakian, & Robbins, 2003). Individuals can change places and still identify other images despite having focused their attention on specific objects (Koelewijin, Bronkhorst, & Theeuwes, 2009).

Different factors concerning attention have been highlighted above, and this is the basis for the research. This paper focuses on how individuals are able to have their attention on one specific image, without being distracted by millions of stimuli in the environment.


In early years of psychological research, attention was extensively studied. Attention is described as the process of possessing the mind, in a form that is clear, of a single thought out of other several simultaneous objects. Attention does introduce the approach of information processing.

Cognition is believed to have found its way back in psychology because of attention. Attention requires that people withdraw from some objects or images so that focus can be put on other elements. Attention helps individuals manage to undertake different specific activities with little interference from the many stimuli that may distract their attention. The main goal of this research is to look at how people manage to have their focus on one specific object in the environment, yet there are other attention distracting elements.


Attention is the ability of an individual to concentrate and focus on a specific task. Several studies have shown that the human brain is not able to multitask in events that require attention: people pick the kind of information that they wish to perceive; several studies have claimed that by not having attention, humans are unable to perceive.

When researching on attention, researchers have considered attention a limited resource since when attention is required by a specific task, it is not present for another. Massage selection processes involves some central nervous systems.

The effects of selective attention vary with the content of information carried by specific messages. Selective attention also known as the cocktail party effect suggests that a person listens to what someone says while he/she ignores the rest of the conversations in house. The cocktail party effect may also refer to the tendency of detecting important information that originates from other stimuli. Another is where a diver listens to the radio while driving a vehicle (Cowan et al., 2005).

Human interaction with nature brings cognitive benefits especially in the development of attention. Directed attention abilities are replenished where natural environments involve few stimuli. Urban areas have several stimuli that make it difficult for attention abilities to be replenished. People bring out better attention results when they are subjected to natural environments. Natural environments play a big positive role towards the replenishing of directed attention abilities (Berman et al., 2008).

Hyperactivity disorder also known as Attention-deficit disorder is a complication that increases the lack of attention in a majority of children. However, in recent times it has persisted in adults. Although there have been mechanisms in place to develop an adult cure for Attention deficit disorder, a few have been achieved. Methylphenidate (MPH) has proved to have some positive outcomes on individuals suffering from hyperactivity disorder (ADD).

Research tries to identify whether the main reason for ADD is switching attention constantly or the inability for an individual to maintain attention. In the state of adulthood, Attention-deficit disorder is considered persistent. Through the application of Methylphenidate, Attention-deficit disorder conditions can be greatly improved (Aron et al., 2003).

The study attention is an aspect that is examined in cognitive psychology. Attention relates to the way people process certain information that exists in their environments. A majority of people tend to be slower when it comes to identifying colors on a square when the word accompanying it stipulates varied color. In this case, reading is considered an automatic process whereas the naming of colors is a controlled process.

Automatic processing requires no attention. On the other hand, controlled processing requires attention. There exists massive correlation between attention and memory. Attention has several effects to the human memory. Working memory and attention have great interdependence. Memory and attention are simultaneously affected by increasing age. The more one gets older, the higher the chances of forgetting events. Attention is of importance when it comes to memorizing and information processing (Cowan et al., 2005).

It is quite difficult for people to focus on more than one object or image at the same moment. Researchers claim individuals are fond of seeing images that attract their attention during visual attention. However, they ignore and do not focus heir attention on other objects.

Attention advantages or benefits are achievable only when the specificity of attention is not considered. Individuals still identify images that are far from their attention area if there is focused attention. Individuals can change locations and can recognize other objects despite having their attention focused on specified images (Koelewijn et al., 2009).

Working memory capabilities plays an important role when it comes to the abilities of controlling people’s cognitive processes. Individuals’ ability to control memory is their working memory capacity. An individual’s working memory will greatly depend on attention control abilities (Redick & Engle, 2006).

Some people have the belief that playing video games enhances attention capabilities. However, individuals who play video games excessively and those who do not play video games almost have attention of equal measures. Players of computer games exhibited improved temporal attention, which is the only existing difference between those who play and those who do not.

Therefore, claiming that playing computer and video games helps enhances the attention skill is not worth. People’s ability to control their attention is not influenced by playing video games (Murphy & Spencer, 2009).

For natural-scene awareness, attention is highly required. When focus is on specific images, individuals are not able to recognize a natural scene due to lack of attention concerning peculiarity on it (Cohen et al., 2011).

Although researches have been conducted to determine individuals’ attention, peculiarities of individuals’ attention have received little attention. When searching for items and images in real life situation, individuals use their knowledge. Individuals tend to depend on their knowledge and experience when looking for items in specific locations of interest.

In search of specific items, individual’s attention is focused on details, but not on the whole location or area where objects are being searched. Attention is important for individuals to see items and images in real-life situations (Torralba et al., 2006).

In conclusion, attention has been described as the ability to concentrate on only one specific stimulus. Research shows that the human brain is incapable of paying attention to different stimuli. That a person only pays attention to the stimulus they are interested in and ignore the rest of the stimuli. Attention can be either visual or auditory.

Studies have shown that playing computer games does not improve the attention abilities of computer game players either. Young people are able to pay attention to stimuli that are both relevant and irrelevant but filter irrelevant information in most cases. On the other hand, adults’ attention is mainly focused towards relevant stimuli, and the information filtered is relevant in most cases. Studies have also revealed that as individuals grow older their attention abilities decrease.

Selective auditory attention is also known as the cocktail party effect. The cocktail party effect is a situation whereby an individual is able to respond only to one stimulus while ignoring the rest in an environment that has several stimuli. Selective attention is at its best when individuals are involved in specific tasks.

Nature has been considered beneficial towards attention development through the interactions between humans and nature. When individuals are asked to search for objects in their environments, they tend to pay little attention. They apply the latest information they have concerning these objects before looking for them.

A big majority of people are not able to name certain colors when the names of those colors are written in different colors. This means that when paying attention, the ability to solve problems require that individuals must apply to selective attention. The study of attention in cognitive psychology is not a new phenomenon. This research has extensively examined attention, and answered the question why individuals are able to pay attention to only one stimulus and ignore the rest.

Reference List

Aron, A.R., Dowson, J.H., Sahakian, B.J. and Robbins, T.W. (2003). Methylphenidate improves response inhibition in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 54(1), 1465-1468.

Berman, M.G., Jonides, J., and Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212.

Cohen, M.A., Alvarez, G.A. & Nakayama, K. (2011). Natural-scene perception requires attention. Psychological Science, 22(9), 1165-1172.

Cowan, N., Elliott, E.M., Saults, J.S., Morey, C.C., Mattox, S., Hismjatullina, A. & Conway, A.R.A. (2005). On the capacity of attention: Its estimation and its role in working memory and cognitive aptitudes. Cognitive Psychology, 51(1), 42-100.

Koelewijn, T., Bronkhorst, A. & Theeuwes, J. (2009). Auditory and visual capture during focused visual attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35(5), 1303-1315.

Murphy, K. & Spencer, A. (2009). Playing video games does not make for better visual attention skills. Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 6(1), 1-2.

Redick, T.S. & Engle, R.W. (2006). Working memory capacity and Attention Network Test performance. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20(1), 713-721.

Torralba, A., Oliva, A., Castelhano, M.S. & Henderson, J.M. (2006). Contextual guidance of eye movements and attention in real-world scenes: The role of global features in object search. Psychological Review, 113(4), 766-786.

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