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3. Attention: Hacks 34–43

Chapter 3. Attention: Hacks 34–43

It’s a busy world out there, and we take in a lot of input, continuously. Raw sense data floods in through our eyes, ears, skin, and more, supplemented by memories and associations both simple and complex. This makes for quite a barrage of information; we simply haven’t the ability to consider all of it at once.

How, then, do we decide what to attend to and what else to ignore (at least for now)?

Attention is what it feels like to give more resources over to some perception or set of perceptions than to others. When we talk about attention here, we don’t mean the kind of concentration you give to a difficult book or at school. It’s the momentary extra importance you give to whatever’s just caught your eye, so to speak. Look around the room briefly. What did you see? Whatever you recall seeing—a picture, a friend, the radio, a bird landing on the windowsill—you just allocated attention to it, however briefly.


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