According to Time Health you now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Contrary to popular belief that goldfish have an attention span of three seconds, it’s actually nine seconds – whereas the average person is eight…
A new study by Microsoft Corp. showed that since the year 2000 when the mobile phone revolution began, attention spans have dropped from 12 to eight seconds (Time Health, 2015) The study also found that “Heavy multi-screen users find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli – they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media”.
Personally I know this to be true, whilst watching the Bachelor or Bachelorette. My friends and I have set up a bachelor Facebook chat where we mercilessly commentate the events unfolding on our TV screens. Most of the time I’m also texting or doing assignments.
The task this week was to set up an informal test to examine their attention span in relation to mine and in class we were asked to colour in for seven minutes. Now to me that is heaven, I love colouring in and had no trouble concentrating on finishing my master piece.
However, when it came to concentrating on the other attention span tests I was more focused on colouring in.
Knowing that my boyfriend doesn’t share the same love for drawing I set up an informal test where he too had to colour in for seven minutes. I set up a timer and he had to ‘lap’ every time he wished he could stop or check his phone.
He accepted the challenge and gave permission for me to film the process.
Here is the link to the time lapse of the test!
Below is a photo of him completing the test and a screenshot of how many times he wished he could stop or look at his phone:
In the end he said “I wanted to stop more than four times but forgot to press lap”. Overall he was defiantly bored and it was a challenge for him to sit for seven minutes and colour in.
At the one minute mark he looked up and exclaimed that it had only been one minute. Microsoft Corp. also conducted a survey that found that 77% of people aged between 18 and 24 responded “yes” when asked “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone.” I do that myself and often find that I’m constantly reminding myself to put it down because I fall into this rhythm of mindless scrolling.
From this informal test and research I learnt a few things:
- My boyfriend does not enjoy colouring so those adult colouring books are off the Christmas list.
- This test was slightly biased because I love colouring whereas he hates it.
- Being removed from our phones – even for short amounts of time – makes us feel disconnected.
- Multi-screen/multitasking behaviour is very prevalent in my generation.
Also Time Health’s article sarcastically congratulated me for making it to the end of the article so I’m going to do the same, Congrats!
Time. 2017. Science: You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish | Time.com. Available at: http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/. [Accessed 14 September 2017].