[IN DEPTH ANALYSIS] Deciphering Attention

Already bouncy and sneaky by nature, our attention span is being severely strained in these times of overstraining. Yet attention is essential to our cognitive effectiveness, whether we are learning new things or simply performing many of our daily tasks. To preserve and cultivate it, a first step is to learn about its amazing mechanisms so that we can identify the factors that can be acted upon and those that are best to let go of. Focus on attention!

It was the German philologist Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the precursor of psychology, who in the seventeenth century gave scientific status to attention by proposing the concept of “apperception,” a perception that is accompanied by reflection and awareness, as opposed to mere perception. It is one of the first statements about the limits of our field of consciousness. Attention will eventually become a leading concept in gestalt psychology, cognitive psychology, and cognitive linguistics.

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