selective attention

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Focusing concentration on a single stimulus or class of stimuli to the exclusion of others. The US psychologist William James (1842–1910) famously pointed out in his Principles of Psychology (1890) that this ability must be acquired: ‘The baby, assailed by the eyes, ears, nose, skin and entrails all at once, feels it all as one great blooming, buzzing confusion’ (p. 488). See attenuation theory, bottleneck theory, cocktail party phenomenon, filter theory, flanker compatibility effect, Kamin blocking.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine — Psychology.

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