Attention research

Active attention is the first and essential ability on the path of obtaining and memorizing information!

About attention

Attention is the ability to focus on some external or internal stimulus. It is important in all activities related to language and communication and higher cognitive processes (thinking, learning, deduction, memorizing, etc.). The more consciously attentive we are, the deeper our perception is. The deeper our perception, the more sensible the subject matter becomes. The more sensible the subject matter, the more sensible the connections with the new subject matter become. It is possible to distinguish between passive (involuntary) and active (voluntary, intentional, conscious) attention. [1]

Active attention or concentration is the ability to focus on work and on a stimulus. It is consciously directed and maintained. In doing so, the individual must consciously restrain themselves from focusing on stimuli that can be irritating. [1] With this ability, we gather our thoughts on the desired spot and leave them there. Just a couple of seconds of concentration on a chosen object will hardly be of any use. The point of active attention is the ability to focus our thoughts on a specific spot for a longer time. [2]

We are able to fully concentrate for a limited period of time only. The first signs of reduced attention during concentrated mental activity can be seen after 20 to 30 minutes already. This is why it is important to allow for short breaks between activities that require active attention. During these breaks, we gather our strength, and the concentration grows. [3]


[1] Mravlje, F. (1999). Pozorno poslušanje z razumevanjem. Nova Gorica: Educa.
[2] Beyer, G.(1992). Urjenje spomina in koncentracije. Ljubljana: DZS.
[3] Keller, G.(2000). Boljša motivacija – uspešnejše učenje. Ljubljana: Center za psihodiagnostična sredstva, d. o. o.

Second graders confirmed our hypotheses

In September 2015, we carried out a test among some pupils of the second grade, which gave us an insight into the initial state of auditory and visual attention. We chose one experimental class and two control classes.

Before the test, we put forward the following hypotheses.
Daily, targeted implementation of exercises that promote active attention improves:

  • Auditory attention.
  • Visual attention.
  • Concentration has the effect of reducing the number of errors.
  • The speed of information processing affects the improvement of the pace of work.
  • Memory.

Work with the experimental class took place every day for 15 minutes. During this time, the pupils did various exercises for the fostering of auditory and visual attention.

In mid-December 2015, in March 2016, and in June 2016, we re-tested all three classes of second-graders. The results confirmed our hypotheses.

1. Research of visual attention

For testing the field of visual attention, we chose the copying of a short text. We paid attention to two parameters at the same time: work pace and the number of mistakes. Copying is a skill that second-graders train every day, which is why we anticipated noticeable improvement in all classes.

Nevertheless, the highest percentage of improvement in the experimental class also showed in the field of visual attention. From September until December the pupils of the experimental class improved their work pace by 49%, and from September until March by no less than 63%. Even in June, the percentage of improvement remained high in comparison with the control groups. By means of the result, we can confirm the hypothesis that regular exercise for training active attention influences the speed of information processing and increases the pupils' work speed.

Additionally, the test in June showed the highest percentage regarding the reduction of the number of mistakes in the experimental class. In the period from September to June, the number of mistakes decreased by 47%. The results obtained confirm that everyday targeted conduct of exercises for the fostering of active attention improves the field of visual attention.

2. Research of auditory attention

The exercise for testing auditory attention comprised 5 short instructions, given one after the other. The pupils had to memorize the instructions and then fill in a worksheet. We evaluated the exercise according to a set of predetermined criteria.

The experimental class confirmed our hypothesis after the testing in December already, namely that everyday, systematic fostering of auditory attention can increase the pupils' concentration and thus contribute to the reduction of the number of mistakes. The percentage of the improvement of auditory attention visibly increased after the tests in March, by no less than 65% according to the initial state, and additionally confirmed our hypothesis. In June the percentage of improvement according to the control classes was quite high as well. The control classes, in which nobody carried out our exercises, improved according to our expectations, but not to such an extent as the experimental class.

From the results obtained it can be confirmed that everyday targeted conduct of exercises for the fostering of active attention has a positive impact on the auditory attention with pupils.

3. Research of memory

After three months of work with the experimental group, we noticed that the conduct of exercises also increases data memorization – it improves memory. Our observations were confirmed by a test. We first conducted the memory test in December 2015 and did it again in March and in June 2016. The pupils were given 30 seconds to look at a certain picture and then had to draw it from memory.

Within six months, the pupils from the experimental class improved their data memorization by 30% according to the results of their first test in December. We can confirm the hypothesis that regular conduct of exercises for the fostering of visual and auditory attention has a positive impact on one's memory as well.