analytics, animal, animals, attention, attention span, author, culture, fish, goldfish, multitasking, pet, pets, psychology, Science, science news, social analytics, society, Stephanie Beavers, writer
At least it’s likely, in terms of attention span, at least. You see, goldfish have an average attention span of nine seconds. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human attention span had dropped to eight.
Interestingly, in 2002, the average attention span was twelve seconds; technological shifts in the last decade or so are the most likely cause for the drop to eight seconds, as recorded in 2013. As I can’t imagine this has improved in the last few years (I suspect the reverse is true), if you have an average attention span or less, then a goldfish is better than you at paying attention to stuff.
Have you ever seen a goldfish? That’s kind of sad.
In actuality, it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. For although humans have seen a decline in the ability to focus on tasks for longer periods of time, we have improved our ability to multitask. Here are the pertinent bits:
those who use social media heavily had more “intermittent bursts of high attention.” The study says: “They’re better at identifying what they want/don’t want to engage with and need less to process and commit things to memory.”
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.
Seriously though, check out the full IFLS article. Or is your attention span too short? Your loss, there’s some cool stuff in there.