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Attention shifting when focusing on sights?

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Attention shifting when focusing on sights? Empty Attention shifting when focusing on sights?

Post by willnewton 8/29/2018, 7:41 am

An OK article, but I did think that this excerpt applied to Bullseye.  Ever wonder why can’t you hold focus on the dot or target or sights for very long?  Your brain is trying to protect you from predators!   Smile

https://gizmodo.com/your-brain-tries-to-change-focus-four-times-per-second-1828517983

“Your brain’s checking in on the rest of environment to see if it should focus on something else,” Ian Fiebelkorn, a study author and cognitive neuroscientist at Princeton University, told Gizmodo. “Not that it unfocuses, but to see if something else beats out your current focus.”

It would make sense that the brain works that way, from an evolutionary standpoint. To survive in this world, you’ve got to be constantly aware of potential dangers.

“It’s like if you’re going after this shiny red apple in a tree, you want to know if something bigger or with sharper teeth is also going for that apple,” Fiebelkorn said. “Yeah, you’re focused on the apple. But not so focused you don’t see danger coming.”

So, my takeaway from this was that you may definitely NEED practice to help overcome your natural tendencies.  In the current world of hyper-distractions, maybe even more so.  The Dry Fire drill is not just about maintaining sight alignment/picture, but trains your brain to maintain visual focus.

Just some thoughts brought on by the article.
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Post by joy2shoot 8/29/2018, 8:21 am

Maybe if we visualize our front sight is actually our cell phone we could maintain constant focus for days....

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Post by sbtzc 8/29/2018, 9:47 am

Squirrel! What a Face
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Post by Vociferous 8/29/2018, 2:38 pm

Dewey's girlfriends!  What a Face
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Post by sbtzc 8/30/2018, 10:10 am

Sorry to be flipid, but I couldn't resist.

Shooting a dot, I find my focus moving away from the dot and/or target like Will and the article discuss. This may sound odd, but if I concentrate my focus just a little off, I get a good result. Shifting focus (usually) slightly lower and left the dot 'seems' in the periphery. Then I can concentrate on moving the trigger straight back. The wobble seems to dimish as well.

I suspect the master shooters will call this a trick or gimmick, but it helps me when the squirrels appear.  What a Face
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Post by Lightfoot 8/30/2018, 2:13 pm

joy2shoot wrote:Maybe if we visualize our front sight is actually our cell phone we could maintain constant focus for days....
 I've often thought that engraving tiny boobies on the front sight might help!
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Post by willnewton 8/30/2018, 8:53 pm

Well, you jokers guys are probably closer to the truth than you realize.

So taking what we learned in Post 1, that your brain looks for other things more interesting than what it is looking at right now, we need to work toward rearranging visual priority.  One solution would be to ensure your front sight is the most interesting thing in your field of view.

So, what are things that your eye is driven to look at and why?

Certainly, we have deep sexual instincts.  Physical attraction is something that operates at a very basic level.  In the same vein of physical attraction, we can veer away from lust and over to love.  How about the face of a loved one?  The joy of seeing the face of a friend, spouse, parent, or child can trigger strong visual attention.

What about when you just sit and watch a fire?  The wind on the water? A spider weaving a web?  There are times you just get lost in the act of observing.

How about when you see your glass tipping off the counter, just out of reach, and you watch it fall to the hard tile floor in slow motion?  Why is it that can nearly count all 438,652 pieces the glass breaks into as it hits?

What is it about these things that can visually rivet you and how can you use that to counteract your wandering focus?  Perhaps try becoming fascinated with your front sight instead of just looking at it.

The part of your brain controlling fascination is just as deeply rooted as the one controlling “distraction prioritization”.  It works at a base level and is easily tricked by using the higher function of imagination to provide misdirection.

Try it next time! Lust for that dot.  Experience love at front sight.  Search for that scratch mark on the back of your sight and when you find it, start looking for the edge of it.  Draw yourself into it, become hypnotized.  Make it your everything.

If you just look at it with your eyes, then your brain will designate your sight or dot as medium priority and start looking for more important stuff.

Of course, you can also physically limit the ability to observe distractions by using blinders on the sides and/or an occluder and/or an iris device.  When done right, the occluder itself is marvelous proof of the difference between what your brain processes as the world around you vs. what your eyes see.  The occluder is so boring and unchanging your brain REMOVES it from view, even though your eye is looking straight at it!

That is how powerful visual prioritization can be.  It works for you and against you, depending on the situation.  Yet, despite being a deeply rooted system ingrained through eons of evolution, it can hacked with a piece of tape or the use of a little imaginative thought.
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Post by joy2shoot 8/30/2018, 9:24 pm

willnewton wrote:So, what are things that your eye is driven to look at and why?
Small.  It is easier to 'visually rivet' to something small.  This is why people put a small mark on their front sight.  They visually focus on the mark and not the entire blade.

Motion/Movement.  If most things are still and something moves, we are naturally drawn to it.  This is why we wear blinders on our shooting glasses.  To block out the motion of the shooters to our left and right.

In focus/Out focus.  We are naturally drawn to look at things in focus, which is why a good photographer uses depth of field to control what is and is not in focus.

Contrasting color.  A red flower in a field of green grass will draw your attention sooner/quicker than a white flower.

Unusual.  If a 2017, beige Honda Accord and a 1910 Model T were coming down the road, which one would you look at?

p.s. When I start lusting after my front sight, I am giving up shooting....

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Post by BE Mike 8/31/2018, 9:27 am

After one has reached a certain level, sports psychology books and programs can be very beneficial. Among other books and mental training programs, I like,"With Winning in Mind", "The Inner Game of Tennis", and "Psycho Cybernetics". Here are some others: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Sports-Psychology/zgbs/books/16613
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Post by joy2shoot 8/31/2018, 9:51 am

I am a fan of the book 'The Psyche of the Shot', which can be purchased on Champion's Choice.

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Post by dronning 8/31/2018, 11:49 am

The squirrel comment reminded me of something that happened during a training session with 3 of my dogs.  I had my 2 Golden Retrievers (Fergus & Farley) and Ivory Lab (Buc) on the deck doing some obedience work.  I had them all sitting with a reward in my hand when all of a sudden about 4-5 squirrels started chasing each other in a tree not more than 10 ft away.  The Lab, Buc, broke position ran to the railing and started barking.  Farley, the younger GR got up spun around 3 times barked and sat back down.  Fergus, my older GR still sitting slowly turned his head about 45 degrees, with his one eye never leaving sight of the reward, barked once and slowly turned his head back, again, never losing sight of the reward.  If he could, I think he'd make a good bullseye shooter. LOL
- Dave
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Post by mikemyers 8/31/2018, 11:50 am

Instead of fighting it, maybe we can ask Aimpoint or Ultradot to add a switch to their red dot sight such that the dot blinks on and off rapidly.  That should get, and hold, our attention.  


I thought that one effect of bullseye shooting is that everything else gets blocked out.  Whatever might have been on your mind goes away when you're concentrating hard enough.  

Another option is to get a set of earmuffs that has the ability to provide you with local sound.  There is usually an audio input.  I use that sometimes for dry firing, to play music while doing the dry firing.  Since it's all audio, while it uses some of your brain, your eyes are "stuck" in place.  I only used it at the range one time, and didn't like it, because it felt it was detracting from what I'm supposed to be doing.  My solution to that, still not tested, is to play music that I can ignore.
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Post by Jack H 8/31/2018, 1:34 pm

Blinders are good.  Just as I broke the shots a time ago, a shooter about 8 targets to the left of my point fired a low one into the berm in front of the turning gear mid string.  The big cloud of dust drew my eye and shot to the left.
Another time a white butterfly flickered in the bright sunlight at the far left end of the firing line like 90 degrees off the sight line.  My eye and shot went way left.
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Post by willnewton 8/31/2018, 2:06 pm

mikemyers wrote:Instead of fighting it, maybe we can ask Aimpoint or Ultradot to add a switch to their red dot sight such that the dot blinks on and off rapidly.  That should get, and hold, our attention.  

I have one of these.  A Laseraim Illusion with adjustable speed flashing.  It is old and was possibly made in the Ultradot factory in Japan.  Not much info about them.  It is on a shelf, as I prefer 30mm scope.  The blinking is 100% maddening, but you can turn it off.

@Jack - I had the most unusual distraction during an indoor match where the BE shooters were on the left lanes and regular shooters were on the right lanes.  I was the last BE shooter on the right and was next to two young ladies getting some range time.  After a few minutes, it was obvious that it was their date night and they could not keep their hands off each other. 

 It was certainly titillating to say the least, but at the same time I could not help but wonder how much danger I was in, as they were not very focused on shooting.  One of them kept saying, “I am going to drop this gun!” and the whole while the situation is going from G-rated, to PG, PG-13, to “Jeez, get a room!”.

My brain was having a tough time managing fascination and fear simultaneously!  lol!
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Post by Jack H 8/31/2018, 2:33 pm

Will
Speaking of distracting thought caused by neighbors.
At an EIC, some really raw, young reserve cadets came to shoot.  One young lady, very young, positioned in the next right position.  With my back to her, I heard her ask the NCO leader "Can I use two hands?" 
Kind of worrisome having real rookie behind your back
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Post by mikemyers 8/31/2018, 2:47 pm

Along those lines - several years ago, I went to Florida Gun in Hialeah, Florida to use their indoor range.  A couple came in, and the lady picked up a gun they might buy, and was waving it all over.  The sales person said nothing.  I finally asked her not to do that.

So, I go into the booth in the range to shoot, and a few minutes later this pair came in, taking the booth next to me.  I couldn't concentrate on anything, except what these two were doing.  To continue would have been a waste of time, so I packed up and went back outside waiting for them to leave.

-----

Also, at the public gun range in Miami, Tamiami Trails, I went there to shoot, and with what seemed like one or two hundred others shooting, and having no idea of how capable they were, while I could shoot, I found it impossible to get the rest of them out of my mind.  I never went back.

-----

By comparison, where I shoot now, Hollywood Rifle and Pistol Club, they are so selective in allowing people to join and shoot, I'm oblivious to what anyone else is doing, even if they're shooting something loud enough to be heard in the next county.  It's expensive to join, and also has a yearly membership, but for me, the peace of mind is worth it.

From Willnewton's original post:
     “Your brain’s checking in on the rest of environment to see if it should focus on something else,” 

At a public gun range, that is SO true!!!!!!!!!!
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Post by Chris Miceli 8/31/2018, 3:01 pm

Better not shoot issf. The encourage making loud noise during the finals while shooters shot. The louder the better

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Post by CR10X 9/3/2018, 5:01 pm

Attention versus distraction.  Training and reinforcement will help with attention.  Either do or do not.  There is no try.

Distractions come in all forms.  Training to keep our attention directed to the process (shooting, etc.) allows us to be aware of the distractions as part of the overall input, but enable us to mitigate our responses (immediate or directed).

But you still have to wipe up a lot of drool......

Attention shifting when focusing on sights? Img_3410
Attention shifting when focusing on sights? Img_3411

And those are natural, all organic, doggie treats that my daughter sells.  (Not chocolate, sugar, etc...)
The dedication and attention of a well trained Sheppard is just awesome.

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Post by Skid 9/3/2018, 5:28 pm

So that's what being focused looks like.  lol

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Post by james r chapman 9/3/2018, 7:24 pm

Somewhat related. During my trapshooting career I finally found the ability to hard focus on the clay target. This had the effect of slooowwing it down, watching it rotate, counting the ridges, reading White Flyer on the top. Well, not that really, eyes aren't that good.

but, it created a much cleaner shot process.
If you can hard focus on that front sight, or the dot for that matter, and see the ridges defined, the shot will ultimately release where your pointed.
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Post by DeweyHales 9/5/2018, 12:37 pm

Vociferous wrote:Dewey's girlfriends!  What a Face

You’re hilarious!  I’m doing my best to grow the sport. 

We definitely have to train ourselves to focus. We do it initially in bursts. We are able to extend those bursts with training.
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Post by Jack H 9/5/2018, 1:42 pm

In the end, for the perfect shot or string, your eye sees the sight (or target), you are aware of triggering.  But what you see in your mind is a process.    You are just observing the process (observe=Ed H)
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