You’ve been invited to a friend of a friend’s party. You’ve never been to this house before, and you’ve also never been to this street. As you track the street numbers, you notice you’re getting close, and you (automatically) turn the radio down in order to look for the house better. The question is, why?
One response might be: “When we need to concentrate a little more, like when we’re looking for a house in the dark, we often try to get rid of distractions so we can focus.”
This answer is intuitively appealing. It’s also exactly the kind of answer cognitive psychologists try to avoid.
The words concentrate, distractions, and focus all point towards something (attention) that is left undefined. Rather than detailing its properties and how it works, we just assume people intuitively know what it means.
Find out more about this over at The Conversation.
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