Is Technology to Blame for Our Declining Attention Spans?

Our attention spans appear to be in decline, but what role is technology playing in this phenomenon?Studies have shown that people spend only around 47 seconds, on average, focusing on any given screen before their attention wanders elsewhere. This finding is among several that have emerged from the research of psychologist Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Mark’s investigations explore the impact digital media is having on our lives.

Her research has found evidence that attention spans appear to be declining. This theme and how we can reclaim our focus are discussed in Mark’s new book Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity, which draws on her years of research. Mark started measuring attention spans back in 2004, using an objective and empirical method to track how long people are focused on any given screen before they look away.

“Over the last 10 years I’ve been using computer logging methods, which gives you precise timestamps of how long people are on any screen,” Mark told Newsweek. “Before that, we actually used to track people with stopwatches. We would just follow them and click.”

Excerpted from Newsweek

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