Home » Blogs » Always Learning » The Connection Between Attention, Memory and Learning

The Connection Between Attention, Memory and Learning

P1010013My son, Matt, uses this simple trick to keep track of his cell phone: Whenever he puts it down, he taps it three times; the tapping focuses his attention just long enough for the location of his phone to register in his memory.
Meanwhile, I spend way too many frantic minutes searching for my phone, my calculator, my car keys, my gym bag…and bemoaning my “terrible memory.”
But problems such as misplacing items, making careless mistakes, etc, have their source not in faulty memory but in poor habits of attention. You can’t remember something if you never learned it in the first place!
This goes for academic learning as well. As life becomes more hectic and technology more intrusive, educators are noticing the effects on student attention, learning and memory. Students who multi-task in class or while doing their homework have more trouble understanding and remembering material than do kids who concentrate on just what they are studying.
I hope you’ll read Annie Murphy Paul’s excellent article, Why Learning and Multi-Tasking Don’t Mix, and then take a look at your own child’s homework routine. Are they juggling academics with texting. listening to music, checking Facebook, watching TV?…if so, you’ll want to help them set up a distraction-free study area and shut off all technology, so they can concentrate 100% on their academic work.
You may be pleasantly surprised at how many “learning problems” might clear up!

[photo of tile work, Guell Park, Barcelona]

The Connection Between Attention, Memory and Learning

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS

Leigh Pretnar Cousins, MS is an educator, counselor, writer and speaker. She's been a tutor, test prep coach and home school teacher for over thirty years. Click HERE to visit Leigh's website and to subscribe to her newsletter, "Learning Something New."

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Cousins, L. (2013). The Connection Between Attention, Memory and Learning. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 8 May 2013
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.