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Sunday Post: Focused Attention

It’s been a while since I focussed attention on any photo challenge, and I miss them.

Jake says focused attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of processing resources. Attention also has variations amongst cultures. Voluntary attention develops in specific cultural and institutional contexts through engagement in cultural activities with more competent community.

Photography has forced me to focus my attention of details and composition which is difficult for a scattery person like me.  Notice that I didn’t say scatter-brained, just scattery meaning not-too focused.

focused attention 3

It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day and Manny has focused his attention on Sweetie Pie. She’s obviously not too interested right now. What should Manny do?

It is relatively easy to force inanimate objects to focus.  Manny has no problem with it.  Sweetie Pie has a mind of her own, inanimate as she is.

What is this?  More importantly where would you find it?

What is this? More importantly where would you find it?

You can focus on a small area of an inanimate object to see if people can guess what it is.

What is this?

What is this?

You can crop a picture even closer to focus someone’s attention on an inanimate object and confound them even more.   These are ways that photographers have of forcing the viewers to look closely and focus their attention on something.

focused attention 7

Even during the chaos of a dinner meeting where there is so much on which to focus, teachers use strategies to draw people’s focused attention.

But what is it about “stuff” that naturally causes animals, including people to focus their attention?  Easier to answer, how do you know they are focused?

Puppy Girl, what is on the new quilt that is SO interesting???

Puppy Girl, what is on the new quilt that is SO interesting???

Obviously PG is interested in something here.  I can’t see it, but she is totally absorbed.  Her body moves toward the object of her focused attention.  Her weight is on her forelegs as indicated by the deep indentations in the bed, and her head is inclined toward the object of her gaze.  Usually a dog will use their most heightened sense of smell to help them as well when they are focusing their attention on something.  Her tongue is out slightly, too.  Hmmm  I hope there is nothing edible in my bed!!!

Focused Attention

What might be the focus of attention here?

People have many foci of attention in this picture.  They too tend to lean in and point, the more focused they become.  When I was teaching students to work in cooperative groups for the first time, I actually had students think about what real focus looked like when they were working with a group.  The experts at Kagen told us that four of five people to a group is a maximum size.  Judging from this picture would you agree that the same principle might hold true for adults as well?

As usual Jake challenges me to think.  What strategies do you use in your line of work or play to get people or animals to focus their attention?  Where is YOUR focused attention?

Here is a link to what 87 other folks thought.


37 replies »

    • It is, and focus is ONE of the hardest things for me. I have to admit, though, my skills ARE improving a bit. The other day a friend asked if I could just add some hair to his picture. For a joke, I did, and he loved it. I took a great picture of V for his ad in a local magazine. Then I made it look brighter and darker at the same time, and gave him a virtual haircut. mmmmm I got SO many compliments on it.

      BTW – no sales. Hardly any comments even, but it’s helping me pick out MY best work, and that’s fun. Lots of love to you Leanne 🙂 Marsha 🙂


      • But I thought it was a long comment… I’m glad your little comment arrived. Did you read that Smiling Toad once wrote a book with a Ralph character in it??? Did you know you’re famous for more than just crossing the street? 🙂


        • It’s long for me. I can only type at snail pace. Autumn Jade and I go a long way. AJ on her side of the street and me on mine. I crossed the street to meet this wondrous being when out of nowhere a 32 wheeler truck picked on me and I am now the mascot on a big MAC.


          • hahaha A 32 wheeler. That’s amazing. In the United States we have 18 wheelers, but a 32 wheeler, that’s really something!!! I can picture you as the mascot on a big MAC. You know we have Ralph’s here. I posted the picture of the Ralph’s truck for you on one of my posts. Is that the one???? If not, we should send them your picture of you in your Twiggy costume, and they could use that for advertising! It should sell something – at least twigs!!! Oh I bet Santa Ralph uses a lot of those around Christmas. Is that where you got the materials for your new costume? You just didn’t run into any bad boys and girls this year… YEAH!!! I love how thrifty and resourceful you are, reusing everything you have in new and interesting ways!! 🙂 xox ML


  1. Hi Marsha. Time for games. Picture #1. Manny should bear it all. Tell Sweetie Pie that he loves her and wearing her Teddie would make him very happy. Picture #2 is a church kneeler or a seat on a horse drawn wagon. Picture #3 is a 17 th century pogo stick. When I saw picture #5 I went OMG someone has hammered a nail into Marsha’s quilt and all the stuffing has come out. Honest!! That was my first reaction. xox


    • Ralph you are TOO smart. Manny bares it all all the time. He doesn’t even own a teddy. Unfortunately, neither does Sweetie Pie. Well she has a teddy, but …it’s too hard to explain…just too much to bear.
      Did you read Sally’s answer??? You are 100% right on #2 of #2. On #3, not so much. This is a former post, and it’s a real teaser. #5 I have NO idea, PG is enamored with something. I hope it’s stuffing from my bed, and not some critter!!! YIKES!!! I’m running for cover.

      One time I was at my Grandma’s house. She was deathly afraid of mice so in the middle of a perfectly quiet time of reading I pointed to her chair, and yelled, “GRANDMA, MOUSE!!! She screamed! That scared me, so I screamed too. Grandpa merely looked over his glasses at us, and gave us a glare. We both collapsed into gales of giggles because, of course, there was NO mouse! 🙂 xoxo


    • I knew I wouldn’t hear from you much this week. I’m missing your summer vacation!!! I want to hear all about school, though!!! You may have to turn off your notifier so you don’t get so many emails. I can’t handle all the emails, so I have turned most of mine off. You can also make them weekly. Then you just have to contend with real emails of things you HAVE to do!!! Lots of love 🙂 🙂


  2. I don’t know if my comment was accepted or not. Had a long one. Maybe a good thing that I had to jump up from the computer to take care of something cooking on the stove. Nice post at any rate.


    • It may have disappeared. I have that happen sometimes. If I write from the pull down menu, then things can disappear if you move your mouse just the wrong way. SO ANNOYING!!! If you click on the bubble, and then press, “View All” your comment box doesn’t disappear every time you leave the scene for a few minutes!!! 🙂 ML


  3. I’m actually letting my focus wander as widely as possible right now to let my subconcious sort some things.
    One of those pics looks like a cushion on a bench or chair.
    The one below it looks like a handrail.





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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