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What? Attention spans aren't getting worse over time.

OK so until now I've been firmly in the oh no technology is making our attention spans way shorter and social media is causing us to prioritize instant gratification over prolonged, intentional, deep thinking. In fact, I wrote about it at least once on this blog, probably 100 times.

But it turns out that is probably bullshit.

As this episode from The Gist podcast explains — basically no research into attention spans has used reliable methodology (partly because it's hard to measure attention objectively) — and worse, the most widely cited studies weren't even really designed to measure attention spans, people just extrapolated that from the results without much justification for doing so.

This part of the podcast in particular explains how ridiculous the widely held belief that we have a "10–15 minute attention span" is. It's really amazing how bad the science is on this! If you've been engaged with this topic at all over the past decade I highly recommend this episode.

Image above taken from flickr under creative commons.

posted

August 14, 2019

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