Shedding Light in the Darkness

The 21st Century Distracted Brain


Ten years ago the average attention span was calculated at 12 minutes. My how times have changed. In a 2012 study research psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen discovered that students were only able to focus and stay on task for an average of three minutes at a time and nearly all of their distractions came from modern technology.

He observed 300 middle, high school and university students studying something important for 15 minutes in their natural environments: studying, texting or listening to music or watching TV in the background, or on a computer.

“The results were startling,” said Rosen in a Psychology Today article. “The major culprit: their smartphone and their laptop were providing constant interruptions. The worst students were those who consumed more media each day and had a preference for working on several tasks at the same time and switching back and forth between them. One additional result stunned us: If they checked Facebook just once during the 15-minute study period they were worse students. It didn’t matter how many times they looked at Facebook; once was enough.”


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