Based on the analysis of the psychological literature describe the main concepts of the research: attention as a psychological phenomenon, types of attention, properties attention, the development of attention.
Attention is a psychological phenomenon, in respect of which up to the present time among psychologists no consensus. On the one hand, in the psychological literature it is considered the existence of attention as an independent mental phenomena. So, some authors argue that attention can be regarded as an independent phenomenon, as it is to some extent present in any other mental process. Others, on the contrary, defend the independence of attention as a mental process.
On the other hand, there is disagreement as to which class of psychic phenomena should include attention. Some believe that attention is a cognitive mental process. Others linked note with the will and activity of the person, based on the fact that any activity, including cognitive, is impossible without attention, and the attention requires certain manifestations of willpower.
What is attention? Orientation and focus on the mental activity of any certain called attention.
In turn, under the direction of mental activity should mean its selective nature, that is, the allocation of the environment important for the subject of specific objects, phenomena or the choice of a certain kind of mental activity. The concept of orientation is also included, and conservation activities for a specific period of time. Not enough to just choose one or the other activity to be careful - it is necessary to keep this choice, save it.
As follows from the given our definition, another characteristic of attention is focused. Under the concentration refers to the greater of lesser concentration in the activity. Obviously, the more complex the task, the greater should be the intensity and tension of attention, i.e. require great concentration. On the other hand, the focus is connected with the distraction from the outside.
Focus and concentration are closely linked. One cannot exist without the other. However, despite the close relationship between them, these concepts are not identical. Direction is connected with the transition from one employment to another, and concentration with the breadth of the lesson.
What is the role of attention in mental activity of the person? What is the essence of our activity, occupies the centre of our consciousness, and the fact that currently insignificant, goes to the periphery, or «lateral field», consciousness. If we imagine our consciousness graphically, draw two circles, one in another. The great circle will be called the area of obscure consciousness, but a small circle - area clear and distinct consciousness, or focus.
Thus, attention to the sharpness and clarity of consciousness, meaning of mental activity in one time or another. But speaking of the two zones of clarity and отчетливости consciousness, it should be borne in mind that in unclear zone of consciousness exist its phases of obscurity and vagueness.
Note as any mental process is associated with certain physiological phenomena. In General, the physiological basis of separate stimuli and process flow in a certain direction is the excitement of one of the nerve centers and braking other. Impact on human stimulus causes the activation of the brain. Activation of the brain is carried out primarily reticular formation. Irritation of the ascending part of the reticular formation causes the appearance of fast electric oscillations in the cortex of the brain, increases the mobility of nervous processes, reduces the sensitivity thresholds. Besides the activation of the brain involved diffuse таламическая system, hypothalamic structures and others Among the «launch» of the mechanisms of the reticular formation should be noted tentative reflex. It is a natural reaction of the body at every change of the environment in humans and animals. 
The Central mechanisms of attention associated with the excitation of one nerve centers and braking other. It is at this level there is a selection of external effects, which is linked to power and unsuspected, nervous excitation. In turn, the strength of nerve excitation depends on the strength of the external irritation. More severe agitation suppresses arising simultaneously with him weak excitation and determines the flow of psychic activity in the appropriate direction. However, it is possible merger of two or more simultaneously affecting stimuli, reinforcing each other. This kind of interaction between stimuli is also one of the bases of allocation of external influences and currents of processes in a certain direction.
Speaking about the physiological bases of attention, it can not be said about two other very important phenomena: about irradiation of nervous processes and dominant. Law of induction of nervous processes, installed'clock Шеррингтоном and widely used I.P. Pavlov, explains to some extent the dynamics of physiological processes, ensuring attention. According to this law, the excitation occurs in one area of the cortex of the brain, causes inhibition in other fields (the so-called simultaneous induction) or replaced braking in a given area of the brain (sequential induction). A region of Association cortex, in which the phenomenon of irradiation, is characterized by the optimal conditions for the excitation, so it's easy to develop differentiation, successfully created new conditional connections. Activities of other areas of the brain associated with what is commonly called an unconscious, automatic human activities.
According to the principle of dominant nominated by A.A. Ukhtomsky, in the brain always has temporarily dominating center of excitement, causing the nerve centres at the moment and giving thus the behaviour of the person definite direction. Thanks to the peculiarities of the dominants are summed and the accumulation of pulses in the nervous system, with simultaneous suppression of activity of the other centres, due to what the excitement is growing. Due to these properties, the dominant is sustainable hotbed of excitement, which, in turn, helps explain the nervous mechanism to maintain the intensity of attention.
It should be noted that the basis for the emergence of a dominant center opening is not only a force affecting the rights of irritation, but also the internal state of the nervous system, caused by previous influences and already fixed nerve connections. However, neither the law of induction of nervous processes, nor the teaching of dominant did not disclose to the end of the mechanisms of attention, especially arbitrary. In contrast to animals, people explicitly manage their attention. Specifically, conducting and clarification of the goals of the activity, supports and switches attention. Therefore, the development of modern science led to a number of concepts to explain the physiological mechanisms of attention. Modern researchers pay much attention to the search for mechanisms of attention, examining the neurophysiological processes. For example, found that healthy people in the conditions of intense attention of changes occur in bioelectrical activity in the frontal lobes of the brain. This activity associated with the work of a special type of neurons located in the frontal lobes. The first type of neurons - «smoke novelty» are activated during the action of new incentives and reduce the activity of getting accustomed to them. In contrast neurons «expectations» are initiated only at a meeting of the organism with the object capable of responding to a pressing need. In fact, in these cells is coded information about the different properties of objects and, depending on the needs arising, focuses on one or the other side of them.
Thus, attention is due to the activity of the whole system of hierarchically related brain structures. A rather complicated structure of physiological mechanisms of attention and conflicting views on the nature led to the emergence of a wide range of psychological theories attention.
N.N. Lange, analyzing the best known approaches to understanding the nature of attention, United existing theories and concepts of attention in several groups.
Attention as a result of the impellent device. Adherents of this approach is to assume that because a person can voluntarily transfer the focus from one object to another, the attention is impossible without muscle movements. It is muscle movement provide device senses to the conditions of effective perception.
Attention as a result of limited consciousness. Without explaining what is meant by displacement of consciousness, Herbert I. and W. Hamilton believe that a more intensive representation capable to force or suppress less intense.
Attention as a result of emotions. This theory has received the greatest recognition in the English ассоциационной psychology. It is based on the statement about the dependence of attention from the emotional colouring of the view. For example, it is well known the following statement by a representative of the given point of view, J.. Mile: «Have a pleasant or painful sensation or idea and be attentive to them are one and the same».
Attention as a result апперцепции, i.e. as the result of the life experience of the individual.
Note as a special active capacity of spirit. Supporters of this position, take note for primary and active ability, the origin of which is inexplicable.
Note how increased nervous irritability. According to this hypothesis, attention due to increase in local irritation of the Central nervous system.
7.Теория nervous suppression of attempts to explain the basic fact of attention - the predominance of one view over the other - the fact that one physiological nervous process delays or inhibits other physiological processes, resulting in fact a special concentration of the consciousness.
Among the theories of attention of the wide popularity has also acquired a theory of the So-Ribot, who believed that attention is always associated with emotions and called them. Especially close relationship he saw between emotions and voluntary attention. RIBO believed that the intensity and duration of this attention is due to the intensity and duration associated with the object of attention of emotional States.
In addition, Ribot believed that attention is always accompanied by changes in the physical and physiological state of the organism. It is connected with the fact that from the point of view of physiology attention as a peculiar state includes a range of cardiovascular, respiratory, motor and other arbitrary or involuntary reactions. A special role in explaining the nature attention Ribot averted his movements. He believed that the concentration of attention accompanied by movements of all parts of the body - face, trunk, and extremities, which together with organic reactions act as a necessary condition to maintain focus on this level. Movement physiologically supports and strengthens the state of consciousness. So, for the organs of sight and hearing means focusing attention and delay movements. The effort, which is attached to focus and hold attention on something, always has a physiological basis. This is, according to Ribot, muscle tension. At the same time distraction Ribot linked with muscle fatigue. Therefore, the secret of voluntary attention, as he considered the author of this approach is the ability to control the movements. Therefore, this theory has received the name of the motor theory of attention.
Except for the theory of the So-RIBO there are no less well-known approaches to the study of nature attention. For Example, A. N. Uznadze believed that attention is directly connected with the installation. According to him, installation of internally expresses the state of attention. Under the influence of the installation is allocated a certain image or experience obtained in the perception of the surrounding reality. This image or impression, and becomes the object of attention, and the process itself was named an objectification.
Not less interesting concept of attention offered П.Я. Galperin. The concept consists of the following main provisions:
Attention is one of the factors explorative activities and is a psychological action directed at the content of the image, thoughts, another phenomenon currently available in the human psyche.
The main function of the attention control over the content of the actions of a mental image and the other In every action of man is estimated, the Executive and the control part. This last and presents attention.
In contrast to the actions aimed at the production of a certain product, control activities, or attention, does not have a single result.
Note as an independent act is only when action is not only mental, but also reduced. Not every control should be considered as attention. Control generally only estimates the action, while the attention promotes its improvement.
If we consider the note as an activity of mental control, all the specific acts of attention - and the arbitrary and involuntary, are a result of the formation of the new mental actions.
Voluntary attention is systematically carried out by the attention, i.e. the form of the control performed by the prior plan, or pattern.
In modern psychological science decided to allocate some of the main types of attention. The direction and focus of mental activity can wear involuntary or arbitrary. When the activity catches a man, and he does it without any willpower, the direction and focus of mental processes is involuntary in nature. When people know what they have to do some work, and takes her into force of this goal, and the decision on the direction and focus of mental processes already is arbitrary. Therefore, according to their origin and mode of delivery usually are two main types of attention: involuntary and arbitrary.
Involuntary attention is the most simple kind of attention. It is often called passive, or forced, as it occurs and is maintained independently from the human consciousness. Activities catches a man, by itself, because of its fun, entertaining or surprise. However, such an understanding the causes of involuntary attention oversimplified. The occurrence of involuntary levy is due to a range of reasons. It includes a variety of physical, psycho-physiological and mental causes. They are interconnected with each other, but they can be conditionally divided into the following four categories.
The first group of reasons is connected with the character of an external stimulus. This includes first of all the power, or the intensity of the stimulus. Any sufficiently severe irritation - loud noises, bright lights, strong push pungent odour involuntarily draws attention. The most important role plays not only the absolute how the relative strength of the stimulus. Equally important is the contrast between the stimuli, as well as the duration of the stimulus and its size and shape. This group of causes should include such a stimulus, as a novelty, originality. Under novelty understand not only the emergence of a previously absent stimulus, but also change of physical properties of existing stimuli, decrease or cessation of their actions, absence of the familiar stimuli, moving stimuli in space. Thus, the first group of causes are the characteristics affecting the rights of the stimulus.
The second group of causes of involuntary attention, connected with the conformity of external stimuli inner state of the person, and above all its needs. So, well-fed and hungry people will react quite differently to talk about food. By physiology effect of these reasons finds its explanation in the proposed A.A. Ukhtomsky principle of dominant.
The third group of reasons connected with the General direction of the individual. What interests you the most and that is the area of interest, including professional, as a rule, draws attention to itself. That is why, going down the street, a policeman drew attention to the wrong parked car. Therefore the overall orientation of the personality and existence of previous experiences have a direct impact on the occurrence of involuntary attention.
As a fourth independent group of causes of involuntary attention, you should name the feelings caused by the electrical stimulus. What is interesting that causes certain emotional reaction, is the major cause of involuntary attention.
Unlike involuntary attention to the main feature of voluntary attention is the fact that it is controlled by the conscious purpose. This kind of attention is closely connected with the will of man, and was developed as a result of work effort, and thus he is still determined, active, intentional. Having decided to do some activities, people comply with this decision, consciously directing the attention of even that is not interesting, but considers it necessary to do. The main function of voluntary attention is the active regulation of the progress of mental processes. Thus, voluntary attention is qualitatively different from involuntary. However, both types of attention are closely related to each other, since voluntary attention arose from involuntary.
Causes of voluntary attention in origin biological and social: voluntary attention is not ripen in the body, is formed in a child's communication with adults. As was shown PS Выготским, in the early phases of development and function of arbitrary attention divided between two people - adults and a child. Adult allocates an object of environment, pointing at him and calling the word, and the child responds to this signal, tracing the gesture, grasping the subject or repeating the word. Thus, the object is allocated for the child of an external field. Subsequently, the children begin to set goals for yourself. It should also be noted the close relationship of any attention to the speech. Development of voluntary attention in the child appears first in the obedience of conduct voice instructions adults, and then, as far as mastering speech - reports of his behavior own voice instructions.
Despite its qualitative difference from involuntary attention, voluntary attention is also associated with feelings, interests, previous experience of the person. However, the impact of these moments of random attention, not directly, but indirectly. It is mediated by deliberately set goals, so in this case interests are the interests of the purposes, the interests of the activity.
There is another kind of attention, which is like an arbitrary, is focused and that initially requires willpower, but then people come into work: interesting and important are the content and process of the activity and not only its result. Such attention was called the N. F. Добрыниным послепроизвольным. For example, a schoolboy, solving difficult math problem, initially attaches to that certain efforts. He undertakes this task only because of its need to do. The task is difficult and at first didn't dare, schoolboy distracted all the time. He has to return itself to solving the problem of constant effort of will. But here's the solution is started, the proper course is planned more and more distinctly. The task becomes more and more clear. It is though difficult, but possible for a solution. Schoolboy more and more fond of her, she seized it. He ceases to be distracted: the challenge for him was interesting. Attention of arbitrary become kind and spontaneous.
Unlike truly involuntary attention послепроизвольное attention remains associated with conscious goals and supported conscious interests. At the same time unlike any attention here there is little or no willpower.
Послепроизвольное attention has to pedagogical process of immense value. Of course, the teacher can and should facilitate the application students of willpower, but the process is tedious. Therefore, a good teacher should capture the child, to interest him so that he worked, without spending your forces, i.e. that interest objectives, the interest of the work passed in a direct interest.
Consider the main characteristics of the properties of attention. Attention has several properties that characterize it as an independent mental process. The main properties of attention include stability, concentration, distribution, switching and attention .
Resistance is the ability of a certain time to focus on the same object. This property attention may be determined by the peripheral and Central factors. Experimental studies have shown that attention is subject to periodic spontaneous fluctuations. Periods such fluctuations, NN. Lange, usually equal to two to three seconds, reaching up to a maximum of 12 seconds. Researchers attention believe that the traditional interpretation of sustained attention requires some explanation, for in reality such small periods of oscillations of attention in any case are not a universal rule.
It is proved, that the most essential condition for the sustainability of attention is the opportunity to discover the subject on which it is focused, new parties, and communication. When the task requires us to focus on a subject and we reveal new aspects in their relationships and взаимопереходах, attention may very long time to remain stable. In those cases, when the content of a subject does not allow for further consideration, we are easily distracted, our focus varies. In other words, to maintain attention to any subject you want the perception of the object developed and manifested before us new content.
If the note under all conditions were unstable, more or less effective mental work would be impossible. It turns out that the inclusion of mental activity, disclosing the subject of new parties and communication, changes regularities of this process and create the conditions for sustained attention. In addition, sustainability of attention depends on a number of other conditions. These include the degree of difficulty of the material and acquaintance with him, his clearness, attitude on the part of the subject, as well as individual features of the person.
The following property of attention concentration. Under the concentration refers to the degree or intensity of concentration of attention. A.A. Ukhtomsky believed that the concentration of attention is connected with the peculiarities of the dominant centre of excitation in the cortex. In particular, he considered that the concentration is the result of excitation in the dominant hearth while braking other areas of the cortex.
Under the distribution attention understand a person's ability to perform several activities simultaneously. A classic example are the phenomenal abilities of Julius Caesar, who according to legend, could simultaneously do seven unrelated cases. But, as the practice of life, a person is able to perform only one kind of conscious mental activity, and the subjective sense of concurrency several occurs due to the fast switch from one activity to another. Still Century Wundt proved that people can't focus on two simultaneously made stimuli. However, sometimes people are really able to simultaneously perform two types of activity. Actually in such cases, one of kinds of the activity performed must be fully automated and do not require attention. If this condition is not observed, the combination is impossible.
Many authors consider that the distribution of attention is the reverse side of his other properties - flexibility. Switching means a conscious and meaningful move the focus from one object to another. In General attention switching means the ability to quickly Orient in the complex and changing situation. The ease of switching attention varies in different people and depends on a number of conditions (primarily on the ratio between the preceding and subsequent activities and attitude of a subject to each of them). The more activity, the easier it switch. It should be noted that the attention switching belongs to a number of well-trained qualities.
The following property attention - its volume. Under the amount of attention refers to the number of objects that can be covered with sufficient clarity at the same time. It is known that the person will not think about different things, and perform a variety of works. This restriction forces crush arriving from the outside information on the part not exceed the capacity of the processing system. An important and vital feature of the volume of attention is that it practically does not change when teaching and training.
Note like most mental processes, has its stages of development. In the first months of life of the child noted the presence only of involuntary attention. Child initially only responds to external stimuli. And it happens only in case of sharp change, for example the transition from darkness to bright light, at sudden loud sounds, changing the temperature and etc.
Starting from the third month, the child is more interested in objects is closely connected with its life, that is the most close to him. In five to seven months, the child is already in a state long enough to consider any subject, feel it, take it in the mouth. Especially visible manifestation of his interest in the bright and brilliant subjects. This suggests that his involuntary attention is sufficiently developed.
The beginnings of any attention usually begin to appear by the end of the first - beginning of the second year of life. We can assume that the emergence of the voluntary attention is connected with the process of raising a child. Around a child, people are gradually accustom it to perform not what he wants and what he needs to do. According to Mr.. F. Dobrynin, as a result of the upbringing of children are forced to pay attention to the action, and gradually they still in a primitive form, begins to manifest the consciousness.
Great importance for the development of voluntary attention is the game. During the game the children learn to coordinate the movement according to the objectives of the game and direct their operations in accordance with its rules. In parallel with the voluntary attention on the basis of sensory experience develops and involuntary attention. Acquaintance with more and more objects and phenomena, the gradual formation of skill to understand the simplest relations, regular conversations with parents, Hiking with them, the games where children imitate adults, manipulation of toys and other items - all this enriches the experience of the child, however, develops its interests and attention.
The main feature of a preschooler is that its voluntary attention is fairly unstable. She easily distracted by extraneous stimuli. His attention overly emotionally, he's still a poor command of their feelings. The involuntary attention is quite stable, long-term and concentrated. Gradually, through exercises and willpower the child develops the ability to control their attention.
Of particular importance for the development of voluntary attention in the school. During school hours, the child becomes accustomed to the discipline. He forms perseverance, ability to control their behavior. It should be noted that in the development of school age of any attention also goes through certain stages. In the first years of the child is not fully control its behavior in the classroom. He still prevails involuntary attention. Therefore, the experienced teachers seek to make their classes bright, breathtaking attention of the child, which is achieved by periodic change of the form of presentation of teaching material. It should be remembered that the child at this age thinking mainly visual creative. Therefore, in order to attract the attention of the child, presentation of learning material has to be absolutely clear.
In the senior classes of voluntary attention is the child reaches a higher level of development. Schoolboy already enough for a long time to engage in certain activities, to control their behavior. However, it should be borne in mind that the quality of attention is influenced not only by conditions of education, but also the peculiarities of the age. So, physiological changes observed in the age 13-15 years, accompanied by fatigue and irritability, and in some cases lead to deterioration in the characteristics of the attention. This is due to physiological changes in the body of the child, but also by the substantial increase in the flow of perceived information and impressions of the student.
PS Vygotsky tried in the framework of its cultural-historical conception to follow the patterns of development of age attention. He wrote that from the first days of life the child's development of his attention is happening in the environment, including the so-called double number of incentives that attention. the First series is around a child objects which by their bright unusual properties rivet his attention. On the other hand is it adult uttered the words that initially act as incentives-indications, guides involuntary attention of the child. Voluntary attention arises from the fact that around a child people start using a number of incentives and means to direct the child's attention, to direct his attention, bend it to his will, and thus give the child the means by which it subsequently itself takes hold their attention. And it starts to happen in the process of mastering the child speech.
In the process of active language acquisition, the child begins to manage and primary processes own attention. It was initially against other people focusing their attention unto them the word in the right direction, and then and in respect of themselves.
Thus, in the development of attention, there are two main stages. The first - stage pre-development, the main feature is the prevalence of externally mediated attention, i.e. the attention caused by environmental factors. The second stage of school development, which is characterized by the rapid development of domestic attention, i.e. the attention, mediated by the internal settings of the child.
So, as a result of the analysis of scientific literature was solved the first task of the study revealed the essential features of attention. Next, in the second section, we consider the particular attention to younger children.