Microsoft Study Reveals: Human Attention Span Is Now Shorter Than Goldfish

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Microsoft Study Reveals: Human Attention Span Is Now Shorter Than Goldfish

Do you find yourself unable to focus? Are you constantly forgetting names, dates, and places? Are you finding it very difficult to focus on one task for more than a couple of minutes or even for more than a couple of seconds? Well, your smartphone and internet use may be to blame.


That is what some people are saying in response to a Microsoft study that shockingly claims that human attention spans (in modernized societies) are now less than that of a humble goldfish. A creature that has been famously regarded as having next to no memory!


Microsoft surveyed 2,000 people and tested another 112 using ECGs, machines which can track brainwaves and brain activity. What they discovered was shocking. The researchers discovered that those who had the highest smartphone use had significantly lowered attention spans, got distracted more easily, and were unable to maintain focus on one task. Not only that, but the team also discovered that between the years 2000 and 2014, the attention span of those studied had fallen from 12 seconds down to just 8 seconds.


A goldfish is believed to be able to have concentration lasting around 9 seconds.


Researchers believe that one of the main causes for the lack of attention span, and the significant fall in attention span since smartphones became widespread (from 2005 onwards) is that there is such a massive influx of information continually put in front of us. It is suggested that humans being the naturally curious and alert creatures they are will inevitably jump to any new information that jumps out at us, thereby distracting us from what we were already focusing on. This is what we experience when we are constantly scrolling through social media and flicking through our dozens of phone apps, our naturally inquisitive minds are searching for the latest, most important detail and dismissing that which we have already observed.


The scientists have claimed, however, that this apparent change in attention span may not necessarily be a disadvantage. They suggest in the paper that we are becoming so well adapted to being bombarded with information that our brains are learning to dismiss that information which we find unimportant instantly, and that we may be becoming just very good at picking out the most important pieces of information online, whether it be a news article or social media post, and simply dumping the unnecessary information. It could be in the fact that we are becoming ever more alert and skilled at pinpointing and extracting all that we need to know in a fraction of the time it took us before.


While this may be the case, our falling lack of attention span is a worry where we have to think about something in-depth, calmly, and rationally without distraction. We may be able to identify relevant information quickly, but that’s not a good exchange for real knowledge. So if you find yourself so distracted that you are on your smartphone, while watching tv and already thinking about what you are going to do next, then maybe it is time to think carefully about what we are doing to our minds!

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Thinking Humanity: Microsoft Study Reveals: Human Attention Span Is Now Shorter Than Goldfish
Microsoft Study Reveals: Human Attention Span Is Now Shorter Than Goldfish
Do you find yourself unable to focus? Are you constantly forgetting names, dates, and places? Are you finding it very difficult to focus on one task for more than a couple of minutes or even for more than a couple of seconds? Well, your smartphone and internet use may be to blame.
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