What is attention?
Say when you are sitting in class or in a meeting and your mind starts to wander – you’re not paying attention. This is sense that we mean when we say we study attention – paying attention is very similar to concentrating on something. We do research into what it means to pay attention, why certain things are easier to pay attention to than others, and why some children find it easier to concentrate than others do.
Why are some things easier to pay attention to than others?
There’s no doubt that some things are easier to pay attention to than others. As you will know if you have ever tried to have a conversation with the TV on the background, for example, some things, particularly things with lots of movement in them, are so attention-grabbing that it’s hard not to pay attention to them. Whereas others, such a if you want to read a book in a noisy environment, require you to make an effort to concentrate and to block out distractions. It’s this second type of concentration – effortful concentration – that is the focus of our research at CALM.
Why is concentration important?
Research suggests that differences emerge between different children in their concentration abilities, and that these differences emerge early in development – during the first year of life. Research also suggests that children who are better able to concentrate perform better at learning across a range of different tasks – from language acquisition through to learning different subjects in school, in academic settings.
What can I do to improve my child’s concentration abilities?
Good question! And one we’re certainly not sure that we know the answer to yet. At the CBU we do a lot of research into the effect of concentration training exercises – but it’s still early days for this research and we’re not sure what the results of this research are going to be yet.
In the meantime, there is research suggesting a number of other ways that you might try to improve your child’s concentration abilities. For example, removing other distractions from the room can make it easier for your child to concentrate. There is also research suggesting that participating in shared activities with your child (e.g. sitting and doing a puzzle together with them) can help to train your child to concentrate better. There is also some research suggesting that regular exercise can help children to concentrate.
What is learning?
[SORRY I HAVEN’T WRITTEN THESE – ANYONE ELSE CAN IF THEY WANT, OR I’LL HAVE A GO LATER…]
What is memory?