"A beautiful woman always draws my attention".

"While I was chatting at Laura's party, a beautiful guy suddenly drew my attention".

«Now I wish to draw your attention to what has attracted my attention most». (Enigmas of Psychical Research)

But can I say, e.g., "my research in social psychology has drawn my attention to the relevance of theoretical physics for behavioral sciences"?

What it should be conveyed in the last phrase is the idea that you were doing something – studying social psychology – and that brought you to do something else which, externally, seemed quite different from the first activity. The attention, as it were, strayed from the first topic to the second one and that was due to the first topic's inner feature. I would not conceive 'attract the attention' as a valid alternative, for it lacks that compelling and coercive element 'draw' seems to imply.

  • You mean divert: "My attention was diverted by ...". – Kris Dec 20 '18 at 7:51
  • Thanks to your comment, Kris. I would say 'divert' might mean too much of a definitive switch of the attention from one point to another. Here the attention is still focused on social psychology, the only difference being that now also the contribution of theoretical physics is considered. And that result – theoretical physics being considered – is not a casual one. The research itself "mandated" that outcome. It has led, so to speak, the researcher there. – Silvio Roberto Vinceti Dec 20 '18 at 13:56

The most direct way to convey the desired idea would simply be to change the temporally vague "has drawn" to the active "drew". If you want to emphasize the connection between your research and the change in viewpoint, you might use some construction like "It was my research in social psychology which led me to the . . .".

  • Thanks to your comment user328810. Yeah, I guess it works. Does "The research drew my attention to the relevance of theoretical physics for behavioral sciences" sound idiomatic? I can't feel it "sound", but it might definitely be my "linguistic shortage". – Silvio Roberto Vinceti Dec 20 '18 at 14:03
  • It sounds idiomatic to me @SilvioRobertoVinceti – BoldBen Jan 19 at 3:27

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