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What are the factors of attention? Conditions determine what we shall attend to. What we attend to depends partly on the object and partly on ourselves. Simply, the conditions of attention may be either objective or subjective. Either the object may draw our attention, or we pay attention to it.



An object must possess certain characteristics so that it may be able to draw our attention. The objects attended to have one or more of the following characteristics, which increase their attention value.
Intensity A strong or prominent object is likely to attract our attention quickly and easily than a weak stimulus. For example, a scream or loud cry, full beam of light, heavy rain, thundering, lightening or flashing, all are intense stimuli, so they catch our attention easily.
Extensity Like intensive, extensive objects will also capture our attention. Bigger stimulus is more striking than the little ones. Huge billboards, full-page advertisement in a newspaper is more likely to be noticed than a small one.
Colour Colorful stimuli are more attractive than the simple one. Different beautiful colours are used in advertisements just to grasp our attention.
Movement Moving objects are more attractive than the static one. Movement is the fundamental objective condition of attention.
Duration If the duration of stimulation is longer, then it will catch our attention. short termed or stimuli having minimum duration will not attract us.
contrast  It is the basic factor which is used by those companies who want to attract the consumers. If contrast is produced in a nice manner, it definitely will catch the attention. All advertising agencies depend on this technique. Contrast can be of colour, size, shape or movement also.
change It is also a form of contrast. A continuous or steady stimulus or object may loose our attention, but a sudden change can catch it again. When a ma moving object stop static object starts moving, they definitely catch our attention. Alarm, call bell, knocking, or sudden change in light at once catches our attention.
Novelty A novel or unusual object attracts more easily than a familiar one. A familiar object loses its strength of attraction. Any stimulus, to which we become habitual, remains no more attractive to us. Unique dresses, styles, colours and fashion grasp our attention. Striking quality of the objects definitely capture our attention.
Location We can see its application in advertisements. Advertising agencies select important location for the bill boards. Same strategy is adopted while advertising in newspapers. Ads between news bulletins or just before become more attention catching.
Repetition Repeated object or incident catches our attention. The more it stimulates us the more it will become attractive for us. The advertising agencies give their message repeatedly on T.V. or radio so they catch our attention. But there is a limit for repetition. Sometimes, we become fed up with repetition also.


The factors which are related to the individual who is paying the attention are called subjective factors. Details of some factors are given below.
Freshness When individual is fresh, then he is more attentive rather than tired Or sleepy. If subject is not fresh, strongly stimulating objects fail to catch his attention.
Interest Interest means a tendency to pay attention to something. McDougall says, “To have an interest in any object means to be ready to pay attention”. Interest is latent attention. Interest is regarded as an inner condition of the mind, which favours attention. paying attention is taking interest and vice versa. To hold students’ attention, teachers may make their lesson interesting advertisers make full use of this feature.Interest may be

i. Instinctive, ii. Acquired iii. Temporary

  1. The inborn tendency is called instinctive or natural interest.
    have to learn from anywhere e.g. interest of mother in her interest of birds in nesting and hatching in particular season etc.
  2. The interest which is initially learned, then it becomes subordinate natural interest called acquired interest.
    Artist writer, poet, player, painter, politician and many other professionals develop their acquired interest. This interest remains life long. They spend their whole life in their respective field.
    become coach, artists become director or producer. They continue their interest even after changing their status.
  3. Our activity which engages us for a while creates temporary interest It can be labelled as mental set e.g. a person who is searching for a job, will attract to a simple and small advertisement of job.

Motive It is the force by which organism satisfies his needs. Motives make the individual to accomplish this requirement. They can be of many types. So motive is an important cause of attention. Hunger, thirst or power motive determines our attention.
Curiosity Natural desire to know about the environment or different objects is called curiosity. Curiosity motivates the individual to do something. Curiosity is seen in all types of humans rather its intensity may differ.
Mental Readiness Mental and physical state in which individual is fully prepared to do something is called readiness. It acts like expectation that prepares the individual to do some act.
Mental and Physical Health If the individual is healthy, mentally and  physically, he will be more able to pay attention than sick or ill. Emotion It becomes difficult for the individual to concentrate in emotional state. Emotionally calm person can pay good attention.
Attitude Attitude is somewhat permanent style of the individual to think or act. Although attitudes are learned, but once established, they become very difficult to change. Our positive or negative attitudes determine our attention.
So attention depends upon so many factors.