How attention is learned
What is attention? We will first try to give an explanation and then present a practical application.
We are guided by the theory of the development of functional systems, according to which every mental process is based on an action. An external action, which starts from the experiences with the hands, with the senses, then raised to the level of language and then generalized and finally shortened to the mental, purely mental level in the brain and automatically, without the outer conscious action with the hands and without conscious linguistic accompaniment takes place.
Which external action is the basis of attention? According to Galperin's theory, attention is an automated control action based on acting control. If I go out of the house, I ask myself: "Is the light everywhere off? Are the hobs off? Is the iron off? Do I have the key in my pocket? Did I water the flowers?" and so on. I quickly answer these questions in my head when I have done these things myself often enough. In the past, I always had to take a look. I went into the kitchen and looked for the stove, then into the bag, then, if the windows are closed, and then, despite all the control, I forgot the most important thing, the key or the water heater. That was the first stage of control. Then comes the second stage of control: I no longer have to run from room to room, but I stop at the door and speak aloud to myself: "All hotplates are off, the windows are closed, there was nothing left." Then I leave the house. The third stage is that the control is no longer necessary because of the actions themselves and no longer over the loud language, but in the head automatically fast, because we have built a functional system in the head that is responsible for the attention.
Attention is therefore not the control action itself, but is the functional system in the head, which makes it possible to exercise the control of an activity without external action, without only language in the head alone.