Saturday, May 16, 2015

Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones

Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones

A Microsoft study highlights the deteriorating attention span of humans, saying it has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds 

This Instagram photo shows a man missing a humpback whale surface two feet away from him because he was glued to his phone. The moment was caught during a whale watch in Redondo Beach, California, professional photographer Eric Smith told ABC News today. Smith said he had about five photos of whales with the private sailboat in the background, but the guy never got off his phone in any of the pictures.
Are you so distracted by your smartphone that you struggle to concentrate and miss out on things? Photo: @esmith_images/Instagram​
The average human's attention span is... oh look, a bird! 
According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. 
Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms. 
The results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. 
The study, by technology giant Microsoft, did however find that the ability of humans to multitask has improved. 
It read: "Canadians [who were tested] with more digital lifestyles (those who consume more media, are multi-screeners, social media enthusiasts, or earlier adopters of technology) struggle to focus in environments where prolonged attention is needed. 
Eight seconds: the average attention span of humans
"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." 
The research follows a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information and the National Library of Medicine in the US that found 79 per cent of respondents regularly "dual screen" by using portable devices while watching TV. 
Bruce Morton, a researcher with the University of Western Ontario's Brain and Mind Institute, suggested it is the result of humans craving information. 
"When we first invented the car, it was so novel," he said. 
"The thought of having an entertainment device in the car was ridiculous because the car itself was the entertainment. 
"After a while, travelling for eight hours at a time, you'd had enough of it. The brain is bored. You put radios in the car and video displays. 
"Why? Because after the first 10 minutes of the drive I've had enough already. I understand this. 
"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." 

Are you addicted to your mobile phone? 

If you answered yes to 5 or fewer, you do not have a problem 
6-10: try to cut back on your usage 
10-15: you have a bit of a problem 
16-20: your addiction to your phone is out of control

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