Attention

DEFINITION

Concentration of thought upon a subject. A close or careful observing or listening. Focusing one's ability or power to concentrate mentally. Giving observant consideration. Artists refer to attentive seeing as gazing, and give much consideration to the gaze of the audience for their works. Artists anticipate that most attention will be drawn to the focal point of a work, but that the quality of a viewer's attention depend upon such factors as his/her consciousness, knowledge, and interest, along with such other factors as the context of that work's exhibition.Factors influencing attention: Size. Large objects/subjects/imagery draw attention. Intensity. More intense stimuli attract attention. Novelty. Novel stimuli attract attention. Incongruity. Objects/subjects/imagery that don't make sense within their context attract attention. (Also see contrast, difference, and variety.) Expression. Stimuli with strong expressive qualities. Personal significance. Personally relevant stimuli. Some might simply entertain, while others satisfy certain needs or responsibilities ? motivations derived from anticipating rewards, or avoidance of penalties, or both.Attention is utterly essential for learning. When demanded by a teacher, attention means "Stop, Look and Listen." Stop working, talking, moving, and put things down. Look toward the teacher or the student who's been called upon. Listen means: think about what you see and hear, and speak only when called upon. When a student needs to let a teacher know he needs attention (excepting emergencies), the appropriate means is to raise a hand when the speaker has stopped. Raising a hand does not guarantee that a student will be called upon, although teachers should try to share time as much as possible and appropriate.Quote: "Be attentive to the minute particular." William Blake (1757-1827), English artist and poet. "If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear." Mark Twain (pen name of Samuel L. Clemens, 1835-1910), American author. "My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it." Judy Bloom, contemporary American author. "Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager." Susan Sontag (1933-2004), American essayist. Advice she gave to students at Vassar College, quoted by Holland Carter in "On Sontag: essayist as metaphor and muse," New York Times, August 14, 2006, p. B25. See inspiration. "Art is about paying attention." Laurie Anderson (1947-), American performance artist and musician. See music and performance art. "Every time we listen to a student's opinion, we practice the principles of intellectual freedom." Pat R. Scales, contemporary American teacher. Also see achievement, d?j? vu, effort, fluorescent colors, gestalt, meaning, memory, motivation, obsession, perception, subliminal message or subliminal advertising, and theater.

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