Importance of Selective Attention

Our minds merely cannot attend to two things at once. As a result of attention being a limited resource, selective attention helps us to filter irrelevant variables and concentrate on what matters. While watching the video by Simons (2010), the people dressed in white passed the basketball 15 times. However, while I was focused on the white people passing the ball, I failed to notice the person dressed in a gorilla suit passing. This is a small group of people, each clear and well-defined, and an obvious gorilla in their midst, but I failed to notice something different.

This video illustrates how while we are focused on something, in particular, we might screen out blatant information simply by being prompted to focus on something else. This shows how we might have failed to notice some important facts through the years because we have been raised to see the world through a certain lens. However, despite this limitation, it is clear that when using selective attention, we can achieve our goals easily. It is therefore important that we observe children with a plan.

When observing children, we must have a plan in mind. This is so that we can observe all the relevant facts in the child’s development. When it comes to observing children, there are so many distracting factors that sometimes we lose focus on what we are supposed to achieve. When we observe children, for instance, achieve academic excellence, then having a plan of how this can be achieved will ensure that we factor in all the facts that will ensure success. For instance, we will know what the child is good at and any uncomfortable situations affecting the child.


Daniel Simons. (2010, March 10). Selective Attention Test [Video]. YouTube. Web.

Anecdotal Record

  • Child’s Name: Caul
  • Date & Time: October 16, 2010
  • Age: 3-4 years
  • Place or Learning Center: Preschool Classroom

Caul is seated on the classroom floor playing the number puzzle. He is placing the numbers in their correct positions on the puzzle. He hums as he taps the numbers from the floor to the puzzle board and sets the number where he sees fit. He has trouble figuring out how to place number 5 correctly. He tries a few times and cannot do so as he keeps putting it upside down. Caul is about to give up, but the number finally fits. After he finishes the puzzle, he says, “One more number.” He then disorganizes the solved puzzle and starts solving the puzzle again, only this time the puzzle is upside down. When he figures number 3, he sings, ‘Number 3 number 3 is the number of the day’. He places the number 8 on his eyes, trying to see through them. He continues until he solves the puzzle.


Caul employs a puzzle to display a number of imaginative, fine motor, and cognitive skills. As he manipulates puzzle pieces to put the puzzle together, Caul improves his fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills. Caul’s cognitive abilities include working through an issue and arriving at a solution while putting the parts together. He uses critical thinking in order to fit the numbers into the puzzle by rotating them until they fit. The fact that he has to memorize shapes and patterns aids in the development of his memory.

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"Importance of Selective Attention." PsychologyWriting, 30 Nov. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Importance of Selective Attention'. 30 November.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Importance of Selective Attention." November 30, 2022.

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PsychologyWriting. "Importance of Selective Attention." November 30, 2022.