The Reason Why Our Attention Span Is Only 8 Seconds Long

The Reason Why Our Attention Span Is Only 8 Seconds Long

When a goldfish can focus longer than us, we know something's wrong.
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We've entered a new era. 25% of teens forget major details about their family and close relatives. 7% of people forget their birthdays time to time. Only 50% of people fully read short articles with 100 or less words. What used to be a norm is now a rare occurrence.

I find it hard to maintain focus when reading a book, and I find it hard to stop when I’m scrolling through my Facebook news feed. Surprisingly enough, both of these phenomena are related. Research conducted by Microsoft Corp. shows that our recent decline to a mere 8-second attention span (from 12 seconds in 2000), one second shorter than that of a goldfish's, is largely attributed to the increasing prevalence of technology in our daily routines.

Now here’s the crazy part. Back in 1977, Nobel Prize-winning Herbert Simon predicted that in the future we would have excessive information at our fingertips. He forewarned us that copious information would consume “the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” This “poverty of attention” that Simon refers to is the reason why we can no longer read books for hours on end, or finish an entire article without zoning out and losing focus. You may be asking yourself, why in the world would having easily-accessible information be detrimental to our attention span? Shouldn’t more information make us smarter?

This is where we step back, and aggregately take a look at the type of “information” that is most viewed today. It is the fast-paced texting done over smartphones, devices actively used everyday by 72% of the U.S teen population, that are mostly responsible for lowering our attention spans. The instant gratification received from reading a quick and easy line of text from a friend can’t be replicated by reading a descriptive article or a book. When you multiply the act of reading one text message by a hundred, and over a relatively short period of time, you get discontinuous bursts of superficial focus instead of the continuous, in-depth focus received from reading a book. Using your phone like this on a daily basis will slowly rewire your brain to be used to the instant pleasure and closure that reading a text gives you, and thus serves as the reason for why we zone out while reading books: the content comes gradually, and the purpose won’t be understood until many sentences are read without a break— pretty daunting for texters, right?

The U.S National Library of Medicine’s research confirmed this to be true by showing that 20% of online article views in 2015 were shorter than 4 seconds long. Furthermore, their research also revealed that only 4% of people viewed an article for over 10 minutes. This manifests the growing deficit in our attention span towards reading and other activities that require continuous and acute focus. We need to cut down on our fast-paced and repetitive acts of refreshing our inboxes, scrolling through our news feeds, and texting excessively.

In the future, we can prevent this decrease in attention by distancing ourselves from our devices when they aren’t necessary. It’s as simple as that. So let’s hope that the next time someone tells us to “pay attention”, we truly can.

Cover Image Credit: eksipaper.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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