Determinants of attention - Meaning, Definition, Factors of Determinants of Attention // Educational Psychology


Determinants of attention

Attention: - Meaning & Definition


 act of directing one’s thought towards a particular act or object


 Attention is a process of getting an object or thought clearly before the mind – J.S. Ross

 Attention is not a faculty of the mind. It rather describes an attitude or activity of the mind. – Valentine

Determinants of Attention:

Attention depends upon both external factors and internal factors that is objective or subjective conditions respectively.

  • Objective conditions are those factors of advantage which are found in the object selected for attention. It come from surroundings and make concentration on relevant stimuli easier or more difficult. Ex: colour, smell, intensity...

  • Subjective conditions are those conditions that are within the mind of the individual who has selected an object for attention. Those conditions that are within the mind of the individual and therefore, depend on individuality. Example: interest, habit and emotional tone….

Objective factors:

Intensity of stimulus:

  • With other conditions being equal a strong stimulus attracts attention more than a weak one. For example a teacher with a loud voice will attract attention of more pupils than a teacher with a lower voice. Similarly loud sounds, bright colours easily attract conscious mind while less intense ones do not.

Size of the object:

  • In case of visible objects, a big size has an advantage over a small one. Our conscious mind easily invites it. The tallest boy or girl in the class easily catches the attention of all.


  • Objects which have their unusual look do not attract one’s attention. On a sudden change in the stimulus, it is likely to attract attention. Ex: if all the students wear uniform it will be unnoticed but if one wears an entirely different dress it will be noticed by all.


  • Newness attracts attention. It is a factor of advantage in attention. The child is attracted by a new dress. New objects will easily catch our attention naturally.


  • Objects in a contrast form easily catch our attention. A tall child along with the short one, a snake in the hand of a child etc.. are sure to catch our attention.


  • Repeated stimulus will draw our attention. The teacher repeats the lesson with an aim to draw the student’s attention.


  • Movement is a clear factor of advantage. Moving object will easily attract one’s attention. The teacher should also show pictures depicting motion.

Subjective factors:


  • Attention is led by instincts. If a child is thirsty, it tends to get water. The same procedure is followed to acquire knowledge when one tends to be curious. Hence our instincts propel our attention to specific objects.


  • Desire or intention plays an important factor in determining our attention. The desire to learn will induce the child to learn more.


  • Emotion has its own effect on our attention. One can be more attentive in class hours when he is in a happy mood and cannot reciprocate when he is in unhappy mood. we are giving much care to the tiny matter in an intense emotional state but the matter goes unnoticed at normal times.


  • Habit and training determine our attention. A child with good habits is generally attentive.


  • Certain traits of an individual are inherited from the parents, Example: taste for music and dance. The children are naturally interested in them from their birth. Example - their liking for rhythm and musical instruments and in dance.

Mental set:

  • The mental set will have a marked effect on the attention of the individual. Mental set attune individual to respond favourably and intensively towards some objects or things in the environment.

Educational importance of attention:

  • It is basic need for all successful teaching. 
  • It increases efficiency. Children learn better if they are attentive.
  • Attention is helpful in remembering.
  • Attention leads to interest. Learning with attention makes it more enjoyable.
  • It is only through attention that the child can learn skill.
  • Attention also helps further learning.
  • It motivates him to study further and his speed of learning also increases.

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