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Attention & Training

Is it possible to improve concentration, attentional focus, or situational

awareness through training?




Is it possible to improve concentration, attentional focus, or situational awareness through training? Why or why not? Does the training need to be task specific training, or are other structures equally as appropriate? Why or why not?


“Although there is overwhelming evidence that anxiety has a debilitative affect on many performers, I believe that anxiety when properly channeled can be a facilitative means to an end." -Josiah Igono

This is a very straightforward question that begs a straightforward response. The answer is unequivocally, 'yes'. As with any other construct or attribute, concentration, attentional focus, and situational awareness are undoubtedly heightened through the appropriate channels of training and development. As the case with muscles that need to be trained and prepared for competition, these attributes can also be strengthened through training. A proverbial atrophy, and detrained condition will inevitably result if these qualities are not

strategically and methodically strengthened through time.


With this said, however, much research has shown that task specific training yields arguably higher results. Kass et al (1991) tested subjects in a simulated battlefield environment, yielding that individuals who were trained previously in an environment that provided only the necessary triggers for skill development actually performed better than their counterparts. There are other factors, however, that arguably have an inverse effect on the ability to develop such as the aforementioned qualities such as age, for example.


References:

Kass, S. J., Herschler, D. A., & Companion, M. A. (1991). Training situational

awareness through pattern recognition in a battlefield environment. Military

Psychology, 3(2), 105-112. doi:10.1207/s15327876mp0302_3


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