Consciousness is an extension of the subconscious

Psychology. An introduction to psychology for interested readers

Table of Contents


1 How do we become aware of our environment and ourselves - consciousness, subconscious and conscience
1.1 awareness
1.2 Subconscious and dreams
1.3 Dreams as an expression of the subconscious and mental health
1.4 Dream Interpretation
1.5 Why are we sometimes absent-minded - dissociation
1.6 Conscience

2 How do we perceive our environment - perception and attention
2.1 The senses
2.2 In low-stimulus, monotonous conditions, attention falls
2.2.1 Absolute absence of suggestions
2.2.2 Overloading the senses
2.2.3 Perception runs as a process
2.3 The organization of our sensory perception
2.4 attention
2.4.1 What do we focus our attention on?
2.4.2 What is missing our attention?
2.4.3 Appearance and being
2.4.4 Daydreams
2.4.5 How can you concentrate better?
2.4.5 The phenomenon of the time gap

3. How do we learn - memory and learning
3.1 Why do we remember one thing and forget the other?
3.2 Short term memory
3.3 Long-term memory
3.3.1 Learning

4. How we control ourselves - emotions and personality
4.1 The connection between emotion and health
4.2 emotions and temperament
4.3 Emotions in our daily life
4.4 fear
4.5 Love is not always love
4.6 Let us focus on our emotions

5. Why do we act in a certain way - will and motivation
5.1 The basis of the will are motives
5.2 The strong and weak will
5.3 The will is influenced by the motivation but also by the habit
5.4 Will processes and will properties
5.5 Motivation and personality
5.5.1 Why are you balanced or unbalanced?
5.5.2 Everyone has a specific goal
5.5.3 How can motivation help us?

6. What abilities do we have and how do we use them - intelligence and skills
6.1 intelligence
6.1.1 Fluids and Crystalline Intelligence
6.2 Other skills
6.3 Does our professional success only depend on our skills?

7. When do we use our reason and when do we use our feeling - intellect and intuition
7.1 Thinking
7.1.1 Is it possible to explore human thinking?
7.1.2 How do geniuses think?
7.1.3 What is a mental model?
7.2 intuition

8. What defines our personality - character traits
8.1.1 Personality traits
8.2 Basic personality dimensions
8.3 Assignment to the groups
8.4 Different typological classifications of personality

9. How we orient ourselves in life - values ​​and attitudes
9.2 Settings
9.2.1 What is the difference between value and attitude
9.4 Prejudice is a special kind of attitude

10. How do we create something new - imagination and creativity
10.2 Creativity
10.2.1 What do we need for creativity?
10.2.2 The creative process

11. How do we act - decision making and behavior
11.1 Decide
11.2 Decision-making and behavior in practice
11.3 Appropriate and Inappropriate Behavior

12. How do we get fresh and active - tiredness and relaxation
12.2 Daily rhythm
12.3 Let us allow ourselves to sleep
12.4 Effective psychological methods of refreshment
12.4.1 Hatha Yoga and Tai Chi Chuan
12.4.2 Autogenic training
12.4.3 The Feldenkrais Method
12.5 Adequate active rest

13. Why do we change our levels of consciousness - hypnosis, suggestion and meditation
13.1 hypnosis
13.1.1 How do you hypnotize and who can be hypnotized?
13.1.2 can everyone be hypnotized?
13.1.3 The personality of the hypnotist
13.1.4 Hypnosis can awaken abilities
13.1.5 Can Hypnosis Be Used For Healing?
13.1.6 Can hypnosis and suggestion be misused?
13.2 Meditation
13.2.1 What do we experience during meditation?

14. How does our coexistence work - interpersonal relationships
14.1 Development of interpersonal relationships
14.2 Conflicted Relationships
14.3 Neurotic Conflicts
14.4 Relationship strategies in children

15. How do we compensate for our own shortcomings - compensation processes

16. How do we judge our fellow human beings - first impression and overall impression

Closing word


Subject index


The reader who is interested in psychology receives a practical overview of the current state of this science through this book. Through a deeper understanding of the personality, its possibilities and limitations, the way to better self-control and self-realization as well as to a better understanding of other people is to be made easier for the reader.

Psychology is particularly concerned with the development of the personality, how it is shaped by the environment and how it itself actively affects the environment, as well as with its regulating and compensating abilities. The areas covered relate to our everyday life and allow a good overview. The general, typological and individual psychological characteristics of people are explained, whose experiences and actions are influenced by biological and social factors - by their relationships with other people, by the environment, culture, economy and politics.

The book was created in collaboration with my son Vitus (not a psychologist), whose questions about the first draft and formulations had a major impact on the text. I would like to thank the two Viennese psychologists, Dr. Christa Michalik, and Mr.

Dr. Klaus Höfner.

Psychological terms are in the text bold and explained in each case.

1 How do we become aware of our environment and ourselves - consciousness, subconscious and conscience

1.1 awareness

Perceptions, memories and thoughts, experiences and experiences from our life are stored in our consciousness. We differentiate between the awareness of our activities, our identity and individuality. Our consciousness helps us decide how to act.

Through awareness we can imagine possible future events and also alternative processes, choose between possibilities, start and end activities. However, many of these processes take place outside of our consciousness, unconsciously. Mental processes include both conscious as well as subconscious (unconscious) processes. Also suggestions and Stimulithat we do not consciously perceive, we evaluate. We register and store them in our subconscious and are influenced by them - not insignificantly.

The individual subconscious is based on our personal learning history, on our experiences and experiences. The collective subconscious owes its content to tradition. This content is shared within a society or culture. The collective subconscious makes itself felt in our relationship to certain symbols that are carriers of spiritual meanings and in our emotional reactions to them. They are symbols that are used in myths, legends, fairy tales, but also in religions, the expression of evil such as snakes and dragons, threats such as dark forests, life such as fish, fertility, such as the cornucopia, des Serving divines such as the cross or the eye, etc. We find such symbolism in art, in literature in our dreams and fantasies. An exact delimitation of the contents of the individual from the collective subconscious is currently not possible.

awareness - Mental process of visualizing the outside world and inner experiences, such as thinking, feeling and acting.

Charm - the trigger causing an effect in a living being.

There are many memories stored in our consciousness that we normally do not have in mind, but in situations where we need them they suddenly come to mind. Such preconscious memories come to mind in everyday activities when we concentrate on a thing or topic and help us with our decisions and actions.

We come z. B. in a position to look for a new job. First, we collect vacancies that suit our vision in terms of pay, job, and location. As soon as we have more information, we imagine our role at the relevant job based on our experience. All of this is playing out conscious level from. We don't make up our minds right away. The adage: "Morning is wiser than evening" expresses that we are in ourselves when we are asleep, when we are relaxed Subconscious deal with our problems. We decide without registering that the subconscious played a role in the decision-making. Also preconscious memories can influence decisions. We remember z. For example, in the course of our deliberations, we suddenly come across important information related to the current job offer, e. B. What a friend said about the company we want to join.

When making decisions, our clearly logical, reasoning intellect is challenged on the conscious level, whereas our intuition draws from the unconscious. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) said: “I trust intuition”, but one can assume that his ingenious intellect was not neglected in his decisions.

Levels of consciousness:

Deliberately - intellectual content that is directly accessible to us.

Preconscious - Memories that are latent in our consciousness from the past and can be reproduced.

Subconsciously (unconsciously) - mental contents that are normally not revealed to us, but nevertheless influence our thinking, acting and feeling.

The consciousness can be according to his Lucidity, d. H. classify according to its intensity or clarity, whereby this can be described as dull, cloudy, dull and in various degrees up to very clear. A multitude of impressions or occurrences only leave dull traces in us. We become aware when something upsets us and then devote ourselves to an intellectual or physical activity with very clear awareness. During the lesson, as long as the teacher explains the material, the level of consciousness of the student can be clouded or dull. As soon as the teacher calls him for the exam, the consciousness is clear (shaken) (his mood may then be dull - but that is another chapter).

The unconsciousness is a state of consciousness that a person can fall into as a result of an accident or illness. It could be a coma or a psychotic illness. The patient cannot be addressed, he or she reacts to pain or not, his reflexes may or may not be present. In this state, the human being is often incapable of any externally perceptible expressions of consciousness, but it is undisputed that consciousness processes also take place in these patients. The patient may be able to perceive his environment selectively or to a limited extent, even if he does not show any reactions. This is indicated by observations by doctors, nursing staff and therapists. It can be assumed that the patient perceives affection, words, empathetic singing, music or touch and these can contribute to recovery.

Another characteristic of consciousness is its Intentionality, d. H. that it is always aimed at someone or something: we imagine something, we judge something mentally, we love or hate someone.

We are also interested in the Level of consciousness. in the Basic area of ​​consciousness we move within the limits of reality that we can prove through practical experience. Therefore we speak of the scope of consciousness of the empirically given reality. Our striving for deeper experience and knowledge leads us to try to cross the threshold of consciousness. We can expand our scope of consciousness in our ideas, our sensations and insights (visions, emotions and cognitions), such as B. in a state of extreme spiritual, religious, or creative enthusiasm or rapture. Such an experience is perceived as a unique experience that enables a deep insight into the inner relationships of life and the world. Even near-death experiences were later described by those affected as spiritual, visionary rapture.

Instructions for Expansion of consciousness we find, for example, in yoga. All relevant methods should be practiced under serious professional guidance in order to avoid disorientation or endangerment of the psychological state. This applies above all to methods that are based on the ingestion of psychotropic substances, breathing practices or rituals. Excessively long exercises can lead to the onset of psychotic illness. The selection of a not only competent, but also reputable guide is extremely important, because there is a further danger that the trainee will develop an uncritical obedience to the authority of the instructor. This phenomenon is sometimes abused by sect leaders. A member of a sect is often no longer able to evade influence. It is very difficult for outsiders who want to help to free an affected person from the influence of a cult leader against their will.

Basic level of consciousness - Consciousness within the framework of empirically given reality

Expanded Awareness - Consciousness that extends beyond the threshold of empirically given reality

Another characteristic of consciousness is that Stream of Consciousness, which the dynamics, the uninterrupted flow of consciousness contents in our psychic processes, like sensation, perception, thinking, imagination, memory, feelings, motives, and also psychic processes with an organic background, like z. B. Pain, expresses. Overall, these mental processes are called Experience denotes, as opposed to Behavior.

Experience - every process in the consciousness of a person that is only accessible to that person.

1.2 Subconscious and dreams

The subconscious sphere is registered differently by the conscious mind. There are great individual differences in the extent to which someone recognizes their own subconscious areas and becomes aware of them, including whether the subconscious is perceived as positive, neutral or threatening. Our subconscious can make itself felt in our dreams. With the help of dreams we can become aware of certain subconscious contents. However, it is impossible to bring all subconscious content into consciousness.

1.3 Dreams as an expression of the subconscious and mental health

Everyone dreams, and we often don't even remember having a dream. Dreams usually occur in the REM phases (Phases with rapid eye movements) of sleep, in which an increased brain activity is going on. Dreams can have an infantile and irrational content, but also a rational, purifying character. Dreams are reactions to experiences and a self-regulation of our psychic system. They are documentation that expresses the inner dynamics of the individual personality. The dream contains hints that are expressed in pictures or symbols. The interpretation of certain symbols that appear to us in dreams help us to understand dream contents. If we do not know what to do with a dream that we are consciously making, it does not mean that it cannot have an effect on our subconscious.

REM (Rapid Eye Movements) sleep - Phases of sleep with rapid eye movements in which brain activity is also increased.

1.4 Dream Interpretation

Often we don't remember our dreams. However, the awareness of the dream content and its explanation can be helpful for well-being or for therapeutic reasons. If we tell a close, understanding person a stressful dream, we will get rid of our remaining fear and perhaps also recognize in which experiences or problems the dream originated. A dream can convey clues or warnings from our subconscious. Physical stimuli during sleep, such as pain, freezing, full stomach, etc., are also expressed in dreams, which can be harbingers of illnesses or crises.

Dream interpretation is the more or less systematic attempt to explain individual dream elements or dream appearances, which often have symbolic meaning. There is no universal lexicon of for the interpretation of dreams Dream symbols. However, certain symbols may be uniform under certain cultural conditions and under the influence of certain situations. We can deduce the meaning of a dream if we are well acquainted with the curriculum vitae and the experiences of the person concerned.

In psychotherapeutic practice, the systematic analysis of dreams serves to uncover psychological disorders and at the same time as an access to research into the subconscious.With dreams in psychotherapy, inter alia Sigmund Freud (1875-1961) and C. G. Jung (1856-1939) were very busy.

Freud and his students concentrate on the theme of the dream, which they see as an expression of repressed wishes. Based on common elements of numerous dream descriptions of different clients, interpretations of dreams were derived (e.g. falling into the depths symbolizes fear or indulging in an erotic temptation, flying symbolizes the desire for sexual fulfillment, upward-pointing, pointed or powerful, strong objects, such as a tower , Rifle, knife, car or airplane are male sexual symbols - Phallic symbols - while hollow, round or weak objects such as chests, cans etc. are supposed to represent female sexual symbols).

C. G. Jung's analytical psychology interprets the in dreams archetypal symbolism, after which z. B. a horse in a dream can symbolize the human urges. Jung emphasizes that the meaning of a symbol is very individual and cannot be interpreted without a precise analysis of the context.

Archetype - In C. G. Jung the term for the very own and typical experiences or attitudes of mankind, which people repeat unconsciously - archetypes of human action. The individual elements of the archetypes result in the collective subconscious of humanity.

Archetypal symbolism - very own ideas, culture-dependent prototypes that appear and are passed on in myths, fairy tales, legends and folklore.

1.5 Why are we sometimes absent-minded - dissociation

dissociation - Separation of a group of psychological processes such as thoughts, feelings, attitudes or actions from consciousness.

dissociation we may understand better if we do the opposite, of association juxtapose. While in association we combine memory contents (ideas, thoughts, concepts), in dissociation there is a separation or separation of perceptual and memory contents in consciousness. The usual dissociation differs from the pathological one, which results in permanent disturbances of the integrative function of the consciousness.

Dissociative thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions take place outside of our conscious plans, whereby there are many gradations from full consciousness to unconsciousness. Our daily life is full of small dissociations in which we cannot integrate certain thoughts, feelings, attitudes or actions into our consciousness, so they are not consciously controlled and run automatically. The more automatic an action is, the less conscious control it requires. Humans can also carry out several actions at the same time without these being fully registered by the consciousness. This can be seen in a way that you call someone but type in someone else's number. Dissociation can also lead to automatic actions e.g. B. Biting a pencil, automatically scribbling or drawing while talking on the phone or thinking. Talking or walking in sleep (lunar addiction, somnambulism) are also dissociative phenomena. The range of dissociative phenomena is wide; people are usually not immediately aware of them and often cannot remember them either.

Dissociation is also used to cope with traumatic experiences or tragic events. Through the process of dissociation, the stressful thoughts and feelings are split off from consciousness. Those affected, e.g. B. Victims of violence, experience their torments as if they were spectators of the event and not the sufferers themselves Depersonalization a. Often those affected cannot remember what happened afterwards. If the condition persists, the clinical picture of multiple personality emerges; however, this occurs rarely. The person concerned behaves alternately like two or more independent personalities with different characters, and one is not aware of the other. The affected person suddenly changes from one personality type to the other.

1.6 Conscience

conscience - Ability to check and control one's own actions with regard to one's own binding system of values.

Conscience is the highest form of self-knowledge through which we evaluate our own actions and motives. It develops through an internalization of values ​​and attitudes that are conveyed by parents, family, social environment, culture and religion from early childhood. Ideally, the conscience strengthens our motivation to act responsibly towards others and ourselves. Conflicts of conscience arise from deviations in actual moral actions from one's own convictions.

Remorse is no proof that there is actually a guilt. They can be an expression of a meticulously conscientious personality or a symptom of depression. Our conscience can be good or bad. We explore our conscience, we calm it down, we drown it out, or we lie to it. In exploring our conscience, we can penetrate into our subconscious.

2 How do we perceive our environment - perception and attention

2.1 The senses

We perceive the environment with the help of our senses, especially through seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Through perception, we collect information about our environment that we store in our memory. This means that we can, at the next opportunity, B. Correctly assess the size or color of an object from a greater distance and under different lighting conditions or we can recognize who is coming after the sound of steps. Thanks to this Phenomenon of constancy we can see from a great distance, even in twilight or in the dark, e.g. B. known people that our dog barks and not a stranger that the hand that touches us is that of our partner. The human senses are remarkably developed in different directions, but our perception is sometimes distorted.

Of a large number of odors that are present in the free atmosphere, humans take with their own Sense of smell only a small part is true, and an even smaller part he can safely distinguish. Smells influence our feelings towards other people (I can't smell someone), the choice of partner and sex life, even if we do not or only partially consciously register it. In humans, the sense of smell also has the function of controlling food and drinks or signaling harmful substances. Remaining in an environment with a strong odor concentration for a longer period of time has the consequence that the perceptual sensitivity gradually decreases until the odor is ultimately no longer perceived at all, it comes to adaptation.

The taste receptors of humans can react to a large number of chemical substances, which are summarized in four taste qualities: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. This classification of tastes was already used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC). There are strong individual and cultural differences in the assessment of taste qualities, what is tasty and what is not. Sense of taste and smell belong closely together. Even before you try a food or drink, you can get an idea of ​​the taste based on the smell. If the sense of smell falls, e.g. If you have a cold, for example, many dishes also taste “bland”. Similar to the sense of smell, a longer lasting taste stimulus leads to a gradual decrease in perception intensity.

The sense of touch is broadly called Skin sense designated. We perceive pressure, warmth and pain. As with the other senses, the perception of pressure and warmth - but not pain - to adapt, which causes a decrease in the perception intensity if the stimulus persists for a longer period of time. Any kind of stimulus strong enough to cause tissue damage causes pain.

In addition to the skin sense, we also have physical senses (kinesthetic sensations)that inform us about our movements, body position or body position.

The Hearing is important in addition to the sense of sight to receive information from our environment and for communication. The pitch, which is determined by the frequency, represents a basic quality of the noise. We perceive sound waves in the air from 16 hertz (low tones) to 20,000 hertz (high tones). When two or more frequencies sound at the same time, we perceive each sound separately. The ability to hear high notes decreases with age.

Another quality of the tone is the intensity. Hearing damage can result from exposure to excessive sound intensity. A critical noise limit starts at 70 decibels (dB) if we are exposed to this noise for a long period of time without interruption. Working with tools or machines at 100 dB should not take longer than two hours without a break. A noise of 120 dB poses a direct risk to hearing. B. exposed at a rock concert near the amplifier.

We can see what is within our field of vision, but we can hear from all directions. We perceive a sound coming from the right side louder with the right ear and vice versa. Our brain evaluates this tiny difference in volume and the minimal time difference with which sound waves reach the right and left ears and determines the direction from which the sound came.

With the Sense of sight we react to light. Light - visible energy - represents a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. The image recorded by our eyes, which is slightly distorted and out of focus at the edges, is corrected by the brain so that we do not perceive these inadequacies. Three-dimensional perception is also the task of the brain, since the image of what is seen on the retina is initially two-dimensional. Circular muscles around the lens of the eye control visual acuity. With age, from around 45 years of age - the elasticity of the lens decreases and one may become presbyopic. The color in which we perceive a body when exposed to light, and whether we can perceive it, depends on the wavelength of the light and the nature of the surface of the body. The area that we perceive without moving our eyes and head is the field of vision, which is variable under different conditions (light or darkness, rest or movement, etc.)

2.2 In low-stimulus, monotonous conditions, attention falls

Our senses react better to changes in the environment than to uniform conditions. You may be familiar with the situation when you drive for a long time on a motorway with a monotonous environment. The view adjusts to the fact that nothing new is happening in the area. It can then be difficult to concentrate. We notice that our alertness is diminished.

2.2.1 Absolute absence of suggestions

The absence of stimuli is an extreme case. If the condition persists, the lack of external stimuli is compensated during sensory deprivation. Vivid ideas and even hallucinations appear.

2.2.2 Overloading the senses

If the senses are overloaded for a long time, it leads to exhaustion. It is therefore important to take more breaks from activities that strain sensory perception.

2.2.3 Perception runs as a process

Thanks to our perception, we orientate ourselves in our environment. If we take a closer look at perception, we can divide it into a number of processes. We recognize z. B. simple properties of an object such as shape, color, and size, but we also perceive objects as a whole and the mutual relationships between them.

perception - Ingestion and processing of information conveyed through our sensory organs.

When it comes to perception, we systematically organize the information and continuously improve this ability. The more developed our senses, the more sensory impressions we receive. One less point and we are excluded from an entire segment of external events. If we had additional senses, we could get more and more varied information about the environment. Our knowledge is limited by the senses that are available to us. Often we only receive incomplete or even falsified images of external events through our sensory perceptions. There is an upper and a lower limit (Threshold) our Perceptual ability. But even within these limits, our sensory perceptions can be unreliable informants, are an example Hallucinations. We can expand our receptivity through technical means. The natural limits of cognition are given by our form of consciousness (level, lucidity, intentionality and scope), perception and attention, but also by experience, imagination, assessment and curiosity. This shows that the quality of sensory perception varies from person to person (sommeliers, for example, perfect smell and taste perception through targeted training). We also take advantage of the more developed senses of animals, e.g. B. The dog's sense of smell when looking for people or drugs.

2.3 The organization of our sensory perception

Figure - Object that attracts our attention when we perceive an overall composition. Therefore we perceive it dominantly and more precisely than the surroundings.

Reason - Parts of an overall composition that we perceive as secondary and less clear.

Figure-ground principle - Basic form of organizing perceptions. One object of an overall composition is perceived more clearly than the rest because it attracted attention.

We always perceive overall images or situations according to the figure-ground principle, whether with the sense of sight, hearing or smell, i.e. H. a certain object in an overall composition attracts our attention and we perceive it more clearly than the other surrounding objects. As soon as we concentrate more on another object in the given overall composition, we perceive this as the central figure more sharply, and the previously perceived object now blurs in the background. It can be the sound of a certain musical instrument in the orchestra, a certain scent, or a certain object among many others. The ability to recognize a certain perceptual object among many others has important practical significance in everyday life and in many professions.

Our perception is influenced by both internal (emotions and physical conditions) and external factors. For example, people who fear social rejection are more likely to notice signs of hostile expressions on their counterparts.

There are individual differences between the Dependence of the visual fieldthat range from a high degree of dependency (the figure slowly lifts off from the background) to Independence ( rapid lifting of the figure from the background) is sufficient. The "independents" are more successful at recognizing objects in front of a camouflaging background (these are the mushroom or mineral collectors. You won't have to look too long for your glasses either).

Our perception is not only given by the real objects that we see, by their size, color, and movement. These physical properties are the material from which our brain forms a perception with the help of innate and appropriated factors.

2.4 attention

As a state of increased alertness and activity of consciousness in selective orientation, attention plays an important role in perceiving, thinking and acting. It is a regulatory process that takes effect when we focus on certain appearances and actions.

2.4.1 What do we focus our attention on?

The objects of our attention can be divided into two Object types be divided into: External objects - objects of the Senses - and inner - objects of the Thinking and the idea.

Sense objects - real objects that we perceive

Thought objects or Presentation objects - Objects or subjects of our thinking or our imagination

Sensory object can e.g. B. be a product in a department store or the offer of a restaurant - does it attract our attention or not? Under Imagination object we understand z. B. the memory of the vacation when we are already going back to work. Thought objects are topics with which we deal mentally Thought object would be z. B. an unsolved economic problem. The categories cannot always be precisely defined; they often overlap.

The exploration of attention first began in the second half of the 19th century through introspection. It's easier to get the attention when dealing with Sense objects to investigate because the psychologist can manipulate them well with them.You can react to acoustic or visual stimuli according to height, color, intensity, duration, sequence, etc. By assigning the stimuli to categories, it can be determined which physical property of the stimulus attracts attention at a certain moment. Findings from such investigations are important in all areas in which instruments, devices, machines, vehicles and the like are developed, produced and used. They also come into play in advertising, which - as a first step towards increasing sales - must attract the attention of potential customers. In the case of advertisements, the image usually dominates. But also in other areas where our attention is required, images are recorded earlier than texts and are better remembered. New stimuli arouse our attention to a greater extent than those that meet our expectations. We compare new stimuli with already known ones.

2.4.2 What is missing our attention?

Stimuli can subliminal be. These are stimuli that are not consciously perceived, but which have an influence on behavior, e.g. B. on the buying behavior of a customer. This can be an extremely brief acoustic or visual presentation of a pleasant idea related to a particular product. It is an advertisement in the way of the subconscious. As a potential customer, we can also be exposed to manipulation with our senses, e.g. B. artificial fragrances that stimulate our appetite or signal seriousness and thus arouse our confidence, lighting that makes the colors of food stand out more appealingly and relaxing or stimulating background music.

2.4.3 Appearance and being

Our body language - or that of our counterpart - signals attention: through body posture, facial expression, direction and movement of the head and eyes. Unfortunately, looking attentive is not sufficient evidence of actual attention. It can also be a very common social hypocrisy. It is well known that a pretense works very well when we put on an interested facial expression during a boring speech, but think of completely different things.

2.4.4 Daydreams

Studies have shown that the orientation of the sensory receptor (eyes, ear, nose) cannot be used to infer the orientation of attention to a specific stimulus. When specifying visual stimuli, it turned out that a given object - although it is noticed by a person and the gaze is fixed on it - still does not have to be recognized. The person is thoughtlessly looking ahead or is in a state of Daydream

2.4.5 How can you concentrate better?

If we want to concentrate particularly on a certain activity, we succeed better if fewer activities have to be carried out at the same time. Humans can only perceive a limited amount of information at the same time. Studies have shown that under normal conditions a person can simultaneously (in 0.1 - 0.2 s) view around seven objects at a glance, whereby attention also has an influence. Carrying out certain activities requires our full attention, so that beyond that we “see nothing and hear nothing”. The increase in attention is supported by increased motivation. We can successfully carry out several activities at the same time if we have at least one command so well that we do it largely automatically.

At the moment the demands on the Distribution of Attention (Distribution) between several simultaneous stimuli (information), e.g. B. when making calls while driving. The person concentrates on the action that appears to him to be the most important at the moment, he walks selectively in front. For the selectivity the resistance of the person concerned to interference is important. Your habits and motivation also have an impact. During a lecture or conversation, the attention of the listener depends heavily on the empathy they feel for the speaker, that is, with the willingness to empathize with the world of the other. Selective attention is an important prerequisite for grasping the essentials of a conversation or a narrative and for grasping emotional aspects. The Agility (dynamics) the attention enables a quick transition from one object to another. Dynamism is a natural quality of attention.

The maintaining attention for a long time (tenacity) on an object usually requires considerable effort. Diversity, variety and originality of the stimuli support the maintenance of attention.

Concentration of attention is the exclusive turning of attention to a certain object, a certain appearance or a certain content. When we need to concentrate longer, e.g. B. when writing a text on the computer, our attention will fluctuate (oscillate). It may be that after a while our concentration drops so much that we just look at the screen inactive. We call this alternation between sharp and dull attention fluctuation.

Different professions, e.g. B. dispatchers, operators, require constant tension of attention, which is very exhausting and Vigilance requires. Vigilance is the willingness to react to irregular, random changes in the environment. Characteristic is the rapid change from a state of relative calm to a state of sudden, maximum concentration, correct and rapid decision-making and reaction, such as B. in flight control. The demands on attention are higher, the more similar the stimuli (information, signals) are in individual demanding tasks. Handicaps in such tasks are a lack of skills, worry, “absent-mindedness”, the influence of drugs, monotony, tiredness, boredom.

2.4.5 The phenomenon of the time gap

After a long journey, the driver reaches an intersection and realizes that he / she is completely unaware of the distance covered. Normally we explain such a failure to ourselves in terms of time, as if from our consciousness z. B. "lost" half an hour.

The sudden awareness of the time gap occurs through a characteristic “tear yourself away” and return to a strict time structure. Suddenly we are clearly aware of time and space again. Most people at work are tied to continuous time control and time estimates. Professions in which time does not play a role tend to be the exception. Only in our free time can we neglect the awareness of time. The awareness of time, the awareness of oneself and the subjective awareness of the continuity of life are closely linked.

Our sense of time is based on internal and external processes. When a person describes not being able to remember a certain period of time, it is actually an inability to remember a series of external occurrences that would normally serve as time markers.

The problem is mainly based on the process of attentiveness and the question arises how such a long-term loss of conscious attention can occur, even though the person concerned is simultaneously performing very complex tasks that depend on reactions to external events, such as . B. steering a vehicle.

We'll get an answer by looking at the type of skills required. These are organized hierarchically in such a way that elementary components of an activity are automated through repetition. An experienced driver no longer needs conscious attention to control his vehicle. As long as the traffic situation is relatively uncomplicated and thus it is a routine without complications to be expected, steering only requires a low level of conscious attention. The driver uses his / her attention elsewhere, as it corresponds to his / her thinking. In a sense, he switched to the "automatic pilot". But every significant change in the situation results in a processing of the new information, an assessment of probabilities and corresponding decisions. The latter requires increased again conscious attention and thus full conscious commitment. The period of automatic steering can be perceived as a gap or failure.


End of the reading sample from 103 pages