n. a state of awareness in which the senses are focused exclusively and selectively on aspects of the environment. Therefore, the central nervous system is in a state of readiness to respond. Because human beings do not have limited attentional capacity, they focus on certain items at the expense of others. Much of the research in this field is devoted to discerning which factors influence selection and to understanding the neural bases of attending behaviors. For example, past experience affects our perceptual experience (we notice things that have meaning for us), and some activities (e.g., reading) require conscious participation (i.e., intentional attention). However, attention can also be captured (i.e., directed unintentionally) by salient stimuli in the environment, stimuli with properties such as intensity, movement, repetition, contrast, and novelty. See also attenuation theory- divided attention.
ATTENTION: "A person who is paying attention is focusing on one particular matter."