The Attention Study: A Study on the Presence of Selective Attention in Firearms Officers

Law Enforcement Executive Forum

The Law Enforcement Executive Forum

Authors: William J. Lewinski

Perception, or the acquisition of information through the senses, has been a focus of philosophy and psychology for millennia. Phenomenological philosophers recognized that we were not simply passive absorbers of information but actively interact with our environment to perceive, process, and interpret this information. The philosophers’ perspective simply expressed is that there is no such thing as an objective reality. The very act of perceiving is dependent upon the direction and quality of the senses of the perceiver, and this varies on an individual level based on the nutrition, fatigue, experience, interest, etc., of the observer. Further, they questioned whether the very act of observing changed in some fashion the elements of what was being observed. If that were true, it would further distort the reality of that which is being observed. For instance, a cell under a microscope is neither seen nor functions as it would among other cells in a body. The very act of observing changes the dynamics of that which is observed. Subsequently, there was and is no such thing as a pure, objective reality. Similarly, there is no such thing as a pure, objective viewer.

Leave a Reply