Difference Between
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Attention vs. Notice: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Attention refers to focused mental engagement, while notice is the act of observing or acknowledging something.
Attention vs. Notice

Key Differences

Attention is a cognitive process that selectively concentrates on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Notice, on the other hand, is the act of perceiving something and may not involve the prolonged focus that attention requires. When you pay attention, you are dedicating mental resources to a subject, task, or detail. To notice is to become aware of or recognize something, which may happen without the deliberate focus that characterizes attention.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
While attention involves a deeper engagement with the object of focus, notice is often more about the initial recognition that something exists or has changed. Attention might be seen in someone studying a work of art closely, whereas notice might occur as someone walks into a room and realizes a picture is hanging crooked. Attention requires more sustained cognitive effort, whereas notice is more about a momentary or incidental awareness.
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Shumaila Saeed
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One can notice many things simultaneously, but typically can pay attention to only one thing at a time. For instance, a teacher may notice that all students are present, but pay particular attention to the one asking a question. Notice can also trigger attention; you may first notice a strange noise, which then causes you to pay attention to try to identify and locate it.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
While both words imply a form of awareness, attention is often used in contexts where concentration, management, or care is involved. Notice, in contrast, is frequently associated with announcements, observations, or casual acknowledgments. You can give someone your attention, implying a deliberate and sustained focus, or you could give them notice, indicating that you inform them or become aware of their presence.
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Nov 25, 2023

Comparison Chart

Duration

Prolonged and sustained
Momentary or brief
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Intensity

High level of mental engagement
Acknowledgment without deep engagement
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Voluntary/Involuntary

Often voluntary and intentional
Can be either voluntary or involuntary
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Process

Cognitive effort to concentrate
Recognition or awareness
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Usage in Language

Often implies care or consideration
Commonly associated with informing or becoming aware
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Attention and Notice Definitions

Attention

Focused observation or consideration.
He listened to the lecture with rapt attention.
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Notice

Attention or consideration through observation.
The unusual design of the building caught my notice.
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Attention

Care or consideration applied to something.
The fragile artifact demanded his complete attention.
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Notice

A short period of time before a change takes effect.
He resigned with two weeks' notice.
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Attention

A state of readiness and alertness.
The soldiers stood at attention when the general passed by.
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Notice

The act of noting or observing; perception or attention
That detail escaped my notice.
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Attention

Consideration for the needs of others.
She paid special attention to her guests to make them feel welcome.
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Notice

Respectful attention or consideration
Grateful for the teacher's notice.
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Attention

The act of dealing with or taking special care of something or someone.
The patient's condition requires immediate medical attention.
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Notice

A written or printed announcement
A notice of sale.
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Attention

The act of close or careful observing or listening
You'll learn more if you pay attention in class.
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Notice

A formal announcement, notification, or warning, especially an announcement of one's intention to withdraw from an agreement or leave a job
Gave my employer two weeks' notice.
Raised the price without notice.
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Attention

The ability or power to keep the mind on something; the ability to concentrate
We turned our attention to the poem's last stanza.
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Notice

The condition of being formally warned or notified
Put us on notice for chronic lateness.
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Attention

Notice or observation
The billboard caught our attention.
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Notice

A printed critical review, as of a play or book.
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Attention

The act of dealing with something or someone; treatment
This injury requires immediate medical attention.
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Notice

To take notice of; observe
Noticed a figure in the doorway. ].
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Attention

Acts of interest or interference
"men who wanted ... freedom from censorship and the attentions of the police" (John Kenneth Galbraith).
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Notice

The act of observing; perception.
He took no notice of the changes, and went on as though nothing had happened.
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Attention

Acts of consideration or courtesy, especially in an effort to win someone's affection or gain sexual favors
"She was almost giddy with disbelief at the unexpected attentions of a handsome, well-spoken, obviously professional man" (Rob Kantner).
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Notice

(countable) A written or printed announcement.
Shall we post a notice about the new policy?
I always read the death notices in the paper.
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Attention

A military posture, with the body erect, eyes to the front, arms at the sides, and heels together.
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Notice

(countable) A formal notification or warning.
The sidewalk adjacent to the damaged bridge stonework shall be closed until further notice.
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Attention

Used as a command to assume an erect military posture.
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Notice

Advance notification of termination of employment, given by an employer to an employee or vice versa.
I gave her her mandatory two weeks' notice and sacked her.
I can't work here any longer. I'm giving notice.
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Attention

(uncountable) Mental focus.
Please direct your attention to the following words.
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Notice

(countable) A published critical review of a play or the like.
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Attention

(countable) An action or remark expressing concern for or interest in someone or something, especially romantic interest.
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Oct 19, 2023

Notice

(uncountable) Prior notification.
I don't mind if you want to change the venue; just give me some notice first, OK?
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Attention

A state of alertness in the standing position.
The company will now come to attention.
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Notice

(dated) Attention; respectful treatment; civility.
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Attention

A technique in neural networks that mimics cognitive attention, enhancing the important parts of the input data while giving less priority to the rest.
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Notice

To remark upon; to mention.
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Attention

(military) Used as a command to bring soldiers to the attention position.
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Notice

(transitive) To become aware of; to observe.
Did you notice the flowers in her yard?
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Attention

A call for people to be quiet/stop doing what they are presently doing and pay heed to what they are to be told or shown.
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Notice

To lavish attention upon; to treat (someone) favourably.
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Attention

The act or state of attending or heeding; the application of the mind to any object of sense, representation, or thought; notice; exclusive or special consideration; earnest consideration, thought, or regard; obedient or affectionate heed; the supposed power or faculty of attending.
They say the tongues of dying menEnforce attention like deep harmony.
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Oct 19, 2023

Notice

(intransitive) To be noticeable; to show.
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Oct 19, 2023

Attention

An act of civility or courtesy; care for the comfort and pleasure of others; as, attentions paid to a stranger.
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Notice

The act of noting, remarking, or observing; observation by the senses or intellect; cognizance; note.
How ready is envy to mingle with the notices we take of other persons!
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Oct 19, 2023

Attention

The process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others
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Notice

Intelligence, by whatever means communicated; knowledge given or received; means of knowledge; express notification; announcement; warning.
I . . . have given him notice that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan his duchess will be here.
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Attention

The work of caring for or attending to someone or something;
No medical care was required
The old car needed constant attention
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Oct 19, 2023

Notice

An announcement, often accompanied by comments or remarks; as, book notices; theatrical notices.
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Oct 19, 2023

Attention

A general interest that leads people to want to know more;
She was the center of attention
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Notice

A writing communicating information or warning.
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Attention

A courteous act indicating affection;
She tried to win his heart with her many attentions
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Notice

Attention; respectful treatment; civility.
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Attention

The faculty or power of mental concentration;
Keeping track of all the details requires your complete attention
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Notice

To observe; to see; to mark; to take note of; to heed; to pay attention to.
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Attention

A motionless erect stance with arms at the sides and feet together; assumed by military personnel during drill or review;
The troops stood at attention
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Notice

To show that one has observed; to take public note of; remark upon; to make comments on; to refer to; as, to notice a book.
This plant deserves to be noticed in this place.
Another circumstance was noticed in connection with the suggestion last discussed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Notice

To treat with attention and civility; as, to notice strangers.
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Notice

An announcement containing information about a future event;
You didn't give me enough notice
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Notice

The act of noticing or paying attention;
He escaped the notice of the police
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Notice

A request for payment;
The notification stated the grace period and the penalties for defaulting
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Notice

Advance notification (usually written) of the intention to withdraw from an arrangement or contract;
We received a notice to vacate the premises
He gave notice two months before he moved
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Notice

A sign posted in a public place as an advertisement;
A poster advertised the coming attractions
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Notice

Polite or favorable attention;
His hard work soon attracted the teacher's notice
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Oct 19, 2023

Notice

A short critical review;
The play received good notices
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Notice

Discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of;
She detected high levels of lead in her drinking water
We found traces of lead in the paint
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Oct 19, 2023

Notice

Notice or perceive;
She noted that someone was following her
Mark my words
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Notice

Make or write a comment on;
He commented the paper of his colleague
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Notice

Express recognition of the presence or existence of, or acquaintance with;
He never acknowledges his colleagues when they run into him in the hallway
She acknowledged his complement with a smile
It is important to acknowledge the work of others in one's own writing
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Notice

The act of observing or acknowledging something.
I took notice of the new sign above the store.
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Nov 08, 2023

Notice

A formal announcement or warning.
Employees were given a month's notice before the office relocation.
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Nov 08, 2023

Notice

The action of notifying someone about something.
You will receive a notice regarding the policy changes.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can attention be involuntary?

Yes, attention can be reflexive or involuntary, such as when a loud noise captures our attention without a conscious effort.
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Nov 25, 2023

Is notice always negative?

No, notice is not always negative; it can simply be a neutral announcement or observation.
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Nov 25, 2023

What is 'paying attention'?

Paying attention is the act of directing your focus towards something specific.
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Nov 25, 2023

How can someone improve their attention?

Attention can be improved by regular practice, mindfulness techniques, and minimizing distractions.
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Nov 25, 2023

Can attention be divided?

Yes, though it's challenging, attention can be divided between tasks, known as multitasking.
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What is the legal definition of notice?

Legally, notice is a formal declaration informing someone of a fact or action, like a notification of eviction.
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Nov 25, 2023

What is attention in psychology?

In psychology, attention is the mental process of concentrating on specific stimuli while ignoring others.
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Nov 25, 2023

What does giving notice at work entail?

Giving notice at work involves informing your employer that you will be leaving your job within a specified timeframe.
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Nov 25, 2023

How do you give notice professionally?

To give notice professionally, provide written communication within the time frame stipulated by your contract or company policy.
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How is 'taking notice' different from 'paying attention'?

Taking notice is becoming aware of something, while paying attention is actively focusing on it.
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Nov 25, 2023

How do teachers get students' attention?

Teachers can get students' attention by using signals, asking interactive questions, or through engaging teaching methods.
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Why is attention important in the workplace?

Attention is crucial in the workplace for productivity, safety, and effective communication.
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Nov 25, 2023

Is attention a skill?

Yes, attention can be considered a skill that can be developed and improved with practice.
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Nov 25, 2023

How long should a notice period be?

A notice period varies, commonly ranging from two weeks to three months, depending on the role and the agreement.
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Nov 25, 2023

Can you retract a notice once given?

Retracting a notice is often possible but depends on the circumstances and agreements between parties involved.
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Nov 25, 2023

What does it mean to 'stand at attention'?

To stand at attention is to stand upright with a formal posture, often in a military context.
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Nov 25, 2023

What is 'due notice'?

'Due notice' implies that proper and adequate information has been given in advance.
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Nov 25, 2023

What does 'on short notice' mean?

'On short notice' means being informed of something just a little time in advance.
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Nov 25, 2023

What's the difference between notice and notification?

Notice is the act of informing or the awareness itself, while notification is the message that informs.
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Nov 25, 2023

What role does attention play in learning?

Attention is fundamental in learning, as it allows the mind to process and retain information.
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Nov 25, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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