What is concentration of attention and what is it like?

Concentration of attention helps us to learn more about the world around us. Its decline is equally dangerous for both children and adults. How to check your concentration and increase it, this article will tell.

What it is?

Modern psychology interprets the definition of “attention concentration” as the moment of retaining information about any object in our short-term memory. Science characterizes concentration as one of the properties of attention. Thanks to her From the multitude of objects inside and outside of us, our attention “grabs” certain objects in order to obtain maximum operational information about them in a given situation. If a person’s ability to focus his «inner beam» on something is impaired, then they speak of absent-mindedness.

How our concentration works is easy to imagine. Pay attention to how quickly children “grab” everything that seems interesting to them, and how difficult it can be to focus the baby on what does not arouse his sincere interest. Children do not need to be taught this — they are able to concentrate their attention from birth. But it is imperative to accustom to this useful habit. What a person directs his «inner beam» — the object of concentration of attention, at the moment is the most important for him. Everything else is perceived somewhat blurry, vague and without details. The longer a person is able to maintain attention on an object, the better. Such people are distinguished by high observation, self-control.

The ability to concentrate the beam on one object is extremely important for scientists, and the ability to scatter it on a wide range of things is of decisive importance for the fighters of special forces, for scouts, and drivers. But all people, without exception, need to train concentration, no matter who they work with.

Concentration allows you to perform any tasks more efficiently.


There are three types of concentration.

  • Free — this is the conscious direction of the «inner ray» to a certain object, done with effort. This concentration is usually used by us in training, in the performance of our professional duties.
  • involuntary — the focus of attention is focused on something itself, the person does not put any effort into it. A loud sound, an unusual, non-standard object — this is what can distract us from an important matter and instantly switch our attention to a new object.
  • Arbitrary — concentration is maintained on the object after the applied voluntary effort itself.

This happens when a person is incredibly interested in what he is doing at the moment.

How to check?

It is not difficult to determine the level of one’s own concentration of attention. For such verification, special tests have been developed. In modern psychology, three main tests are used, thanks to which you yourself can determine your ability to control the concentration of attention, its duration.

Münsterberg method

Letter test. On the sheet, among the many individual letters, whole words are “hidden”. Look carefully and find these words as quickly as possible. Studies have shown that the optimal time for testing is two minutes. During this period, a person is able to select a maximum of words, which will describe the degree of his personal concentration. Found words are underlined with a pencil. Here is an example:

Бсолнцевтргщоирайонзшнучновостъаахэьгчяфактыукэкзаментрочагщ гцкпрокуроргурстабеютеориянтобж еубжамаъхоккейтруицыкцуигателевизорболджщэхюэлгщбпамятьшогею жпждрегщкнодвосприятиейцукенгоизхъвафыпролдблюбовьавыфпросдспектакльячсимтьбю нбюерадостьвуфциеолджнародолдждбшйрепортажждорлафы вьюефбьюконкурсйфныувскаяпрриличн остьзжэьеюдшщглоджинэппппрплаваниетлжебыпрткомедиящлодкуивотчаяниенфрлн ьячвтджхэфтасенлабораториягшдщиуцтррилоснованияж.

There are 23 hidden words in this set of letters. If you managed to find them in 2 minutes of the allotted time, everything is in order with the concentration of attention. If you do not have time, then this is a sign of low, weak concentration. Your brain does a great job of managing concentration and processing information if 23 words are found before the time limit is up.

Schulte tables

These are numerical tables in which the numbers are scattered randomly. For 1 minute you need to look at the table, and then remove it and try to reproduce on paper everything that you remember. The second way is without prior contemplation. A person takes a table and for a while immediately begins to determine the location of the numbers in ascending order — 1,2,3, etc., pointing to the desired cell with the tip of a pen. Labeling is prohibited.

Completing a task in 40 seconds indicates a high level of attention span. 50 seconds is also a good result, indicating that the level of concentration and its duration are sufficient. If it took more than 55 seconds, you should increase the concentration — it is weak.

The words

Ask someone to read you ten words that have nothing to do with each other, that do not even have associative relationships: fish, sky, mayor, fear, cube, etc. After the first reading, you need to reproduce in any order what you managed to remember from the list. A score of 8 or more words is considered excellent. If you managed to remember only 7 words, then they say about satisfactory concentration. If less than 7 words — the level is weak, correction is required.

Reasons for the decline

Violation of concentration of attention can be observed both in a child and in an adult at any age. The inability to freely concentrate the focus of internal concentration leads to problems with learning, work, and can be life threatening. Loss or lack of concentration reduces the standard of living. A person with such disorders cannot concentrate attention even with effort on the desired object, cannot hold it for a long time, and has difficulty doing work. A person is often distracted, poorly remembers incoming information. What causes disorder?

  • Lack of interest and need for the object — for a person it does not matter what he needs or is invited to pay attention to.
  • Emotional condition — and the feeling of joy, and grief, and stress distort our perception, so you should not be surprised that a lover’s concentration has temporarily worsened, and a person experiencing a personal drama has it completely bad.
  • External conditions — concentration will often switch to involuntary forms, it will be disturbed if there is noise, din, loud and sharp sounds, flashes of light, etc. around.
  • Fatigue and stress — too long stress, including mental stress, leads to a decrease in concentration. Rest is needed before the ability is fully restored.
  • Hormonal disorders — It is precisely because of the instability of the hormonal background that pregnant women, the elderly, teenagers often seem absent-minded and forgetful, inattentive.
  • Irrational daily routine in which a person does not get enough sleep, does not rest fully in the time allotted for this.
  • hunger, diet also reduce the level of concentration.

Also, alcohol and drugs, certain medications, and age-related changes in the brain in old age can also reduce the level of concentration, both temporarily and permanently.

How to raise?

Increasing personal concentration of attention in children in the learning process is often carried out according to the Montessori systemuseful for both adults and children Pieron-Ruser technique, aimed at increasing the stability of the internal focus of concentration. Everyone can improve concentration, even if the workouts and exercises described below seem boring and monotonous at first. A patient approach and a systematic approach will help to achieve impressive results.


  • «Only calm!» The essence of the exercise is to sit quietly in a chair or in a comfortable chair. Try to get into a comfortable position and be as calm as you can. Try not to make spontaneous movements, watch the relaxation of the muscles. Stay in this state for at least a quarter of an hour, but you can start with five minutes. The exercise will help you focus on yourself, inner feelings, teach you to relax and deal with stress and distractions.
  • «Look at your fingers.» Sit up straight, keep your back straight, raise your right hand to shoulder level and carefully look at your fingers. Stay still and focused for exactly 1 minute. Gradually increase the time. When the right hand is under control, proceed to the same exercise, but on the left hand.
  • «Glass of water». Fill a small clear glass with water. Take it in your hand and hold it in front of you, trying not to allow the surface of the water to fluctuate. To begin with, focus on muscle relaxation and concentration of gaze on the surface of the liquid for a minute, gradually increase the time to 5 minutes. After the right hand, instruct the left hand to hold the glass.
  • «Fists». This simple exercise is very effective. Sit down at the table, put your hands on it and clench your fingers into fists. Focus on each individual finger in turn, slowly spreading them out in sequence, starting with the index finger. Having straightened everything, just as slowly, one by one, fold them back to their original position.
  • «Feel Everything». Concentrate your attention on smells when you pass by flowers when you are riding in transport. Choose only one of the fragrances and focus on it, trying to imagine where it comes from. On the street, this can be the smell of hot cakes, cigarette smoke, perfume, etc.
  • «Watch». Place or place a clock with a second hand in front of you. Try to follow its movement with your eyes and mentally, without thinking about anything other than the arrow.

To begin with, try to master at least one full circle, that is, concentrate for exactly a minute. Gradually increase the duration of the exercise.


Helps increase concentration technique of focusing on internal processes. Keep track of how your heart beats, how you breathe, how blood enters your fingers, muscles. Try to focus as much as possible on the sensations, imagining what is happening in detail. Very soon you will realize that you began to feel differently, that your body helps you in many ways even in making decisions, as it signals any tension, negative thoughts.

Widespread and so-called mirror technology. Mark two points on the mirror in the area where your eyes are reflected with a marker. These will be the fictional eyes of your imaginary interlocutor. Keep your back straight, look confidently into these «eyes». Focus on what you are confident about. Try not to tense a single muscle in your body.

In Eastern practices, special techniques are adopted. Sit straight, close the nostril with your hand and slowly exhale with the other nostril, internally counting to ten. The second nostril, changing hands, take the same slow and measured breath. Repeat this several times. Also, Eastern yogis and Tibetan monks highly value the technique of contemplation. Look at something beautiful — a photograph of the sea, a mountain landscape, a living flower, trying to simply contemplate, without giving any evaluation and without allowing the free flow of chaotic thoughts. At first, it will be difficult to hold out even for a minute, but with subsequent training, the concentration skill will improve.

Not the last place is given to techniques of mental control or control of thoughts and desires. This is the most difficult part of the exercises, because desires and ideas are generally difficult to control. Notice everything that you feel at the moment, learn to isolate your desires, gradually move on to thoughts in the same way, consciously blocking the negative ones with an internal command and rewarding yourself for positive thinking. It is best to train mental control on the following example: you really want to share news or a fact close to you, pull yourself together, overcome this desire and internally say everything that you were going to “blow out” five minutes ago. And only when you feel that the desire to report the news is under your control, start talking, calmly and measuredly.

Read more and be sure to retell what you read aloud, sharing it with others. Retelling what you read is a great exercise for your memory, communication skills, and concentration. Avoid long and vague descriptions. What the writer can fit in five volumes, we must tell briefly, succinctly and concisely, choosing only precise wording. In order to apply such techniques, it is not necessary to allocate special time. Use those free five minutes that are available at work, school, on the way home, before bedtime.

As a result, you will soon realize that it is easier for you to perform all professional tasks, it began to take much less time, and you will also understand that you have become more calm, measured, it is now more difficult for you to get angry and bring you to stress. Positive changes in you will certainly be noticed by those around you.

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