Our brains are capable of carrying out a number of attention tasks and are shaped by environmental and developmental factors. When developmental factors such as motivation, past/prior experiences and current knowledge base interact with different environmental situations our brains begin to adapt by strengthening the attention skills used most often. Simply put, how we spend our days shapes what we pay attention to and how efficiently these processes function.
Attention has two degrees “passive” (daydreaming in class) and “active” (when a teacher calls our name) and can be broken down into five types:
Normal: the act of being engaged and focused on a single task.
Selective: the act of being engaged and focused on a single task while blocking out some other stimuli.
Divided: the act of performing multiple tasks simultaneously, one passive and other active. Ie. Doing homework (active) while the television is on (passive).
Alternating: the act of shifting attention that pique interest during two separate tasks requiring active attention, happening at the same time. Ie. Overhearing a conversation while reading a book.
Concentration: the sustained act of being engaged and focused on a single task over a certain amount of time.
Being able to recognize and then predict what attention skills will be needed to complete a task efficiently are the first steps to enhancing concentration, focus and attention. From there it’s all about practice through play.
Try out the following Attention Puzzles for time. Puzzles 1 and 2 will challenge alternating attention because it requires you to shift between letters and numbers. Starting at A draw a line to number 1, then from 1 to B and so on. Puzzles 3 and 4 will challenge alternating and selective attention by having to block out random symbols that are not relevant to the trail. Finally, Puzzle 5 will challenge a combination of all types of attention. Complete this grid by writing the coordinates beside each letter (A = R7,C4)
*Complete these puzzles after each round of a short and intense workout for maximum brain benefits!