In a study, which sought to determine the impact that pocket-sized devices and the increased availability of digital media and information have had on our daily lives, Microsoft surveyed 2,000 people.
The software company used electroencephalograms (EEGs) to monitor the brain activity of a separate group of 112.
The 54-page report showed our ability to multi-task has drastically improved in the information age, but attention spans have fallen.
"While digital lifestyles decrease sustained attention overall, it’s only true in the long-term. Early adopters and heavy social media users front load their attention and have more intermittent bursts of high attention. They’re better at identifying what they want/don’t want to engage with and need less to process and commit things to memory."
One professor believes duel-screening (tv & phone) is an entirely natural response though – as we consume an increasing volume of information and digest it faster, our appetite for it grows. "Just because we may be allocating our attention differently as a function of the technologies we may be using, it doesn’t mean that the way our attention actually can function has changed.”
Well, I need to pay attention to what is going on around me. Within the last five minutes, I've been concentration on the subject I'm writing about, answering the phone to discuss my husband's needs, and keeping a check on him. I'm fully aware he needs to be woken soon and thence starts our combined day. Who knows what it will bring? Sometimes he's competent, sometimes not.
Take an attention span test of less than five minutes.
I scored 71%. How do you rate your own attention span?