Attention is a major construct in cognitive models of learning.
We owe to William James this early definition:
Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called distraction, and Zerstreutheit in German.
Information processing models, including early research by Broadbent and Newell & Simon, rely on the notion of selective attention to explain how we decide which parts of the information brought to us by our senses will receive further processing.
Read and reflect: Selective filter