Attention Span within Cognitive Psychology - Essay Prowess

Attention Span within Cognitive Psychology

Attention Span within Cognitive Psychology


Attention Span within Cognitive Psychology


Attention is the intellectual process of paying much focus on one aspect in the surrounding instead of others for much understanding or effectively deal with it. In addition, attention can be influenced by; frequency of repletion, immediate need, intensity of stimuli, profession, size among others. On the other hand, attention span refers to the amount of duration that an individual can focus on a single activity which has a high significance in the achievement of targeted goals. However, this attention span is believed by most lecturers to be ten plus an individual`s age minutes after which, it is lost. Moreover, this attention span is mostly developed in individuals since their childhood through primary education, motivating them to have passion of whatever they do any and administering breaks which in most cases are believed to regenerate attention span (Baym, 2010). Some factors such as technology have both negative and positive impacts on attention span. This paper, therefore, tries to generate how technology as a factor contributes negatively and positively to the attention span in individuals (Charness, 2003).

The speed of technology growth is improving in an alarming rate with the constant invention of new tablets, smart phones, increased social media discoveries such as twitter, face book, what’s app and other new devices that enhance access to the internet. Most lecturers and facilitators have anticipated that continuous use of these devices, has not only negatives impacts on student`s attention spans, but also the students` potential to persist in the face of serious assignments. Researchers have acknowledged that most lecturers are fighting a losing battle in trying to maintain students` academic interest. Addition, they admit that there has been a great decrease in the depth of written assignments of students and this has forced the lecturers to practice song and dance in order to win students` attention. Among the teachers who contributed in an interview for the New York Times, 63% claimed that they are forced to become entertainers in order to win their students` attention. Moreover, and they never give in to the challenges of engaging their students in school work and capturing their students’ attention. Researchers argue that students should be empowered to be curious always through being given a chance to investigate and answer their own questions. They should also be involved in toes to head games and other digital media games in order to increase their attention and self-control (Carr, 2010).

However numerous studies have been in progress and the analysis of some of these researches shows that the invention of new technologies has two sided consequences in education sector. First is that 35% of the lecturers admits that the latter is a great tool in education since internet and other search engines facilitate students` assignments and research projects which is an added advantage. In addition, the incorporation of digital media games by the teachers helps them to develop the attention based skills in students. Besides, 65 percent of them suggested that technology results in the creation of cheaply distracted generation of students with poor attention spans. In addition, the research illustrates that there is a high relationship between continued use of digital technology and the students` potential thinking and reasoning. Further studies anticipate that, continuous reduction in students` attention spans have discouraging impacts to the society in general. For example, for an organization or society to achieve measurable levels of success, the individuals in these organizations or the society, they must incorporate the ability to collaborate with other individuals rather than substituting the need for personal information (Baym, 2010).

Moreover, some researchers who have analyzed the characters of youths who were born between 1982 and 2002 identified mixed results about their attention spans. For example, the youths who spends most of their time alone and using the digital media, tends to be poor in their communication skills, lacks mental intelligence and self-recognition. The reason is not that they have an inadequate potential, but because they spend most of their time chatting with people online more than doing the same face to face. When they face situations where they must work and communicate directly with other people they lack the necessary concentration. Another study assesses the effects of urbanization on the attention span. Individuals from the interior villages were compared with those of the urban areas and their attentions on activities such as listening to a teacher in class or driving were tested (Baym, 2010). It emerged that those individuals from the village had high and better attention spans than those from the urban areas. It was instinctively reasonable that the level of stimulation is intrinsic to individuals’ everyday environments. That is, it is low in village individuals and high in urbanized individuals. Although that study revolved around urbanization, it is also true that the current students are living in a hyper- stimulating life and this distracts them from concentrating in traditional chalk and talk lessons. In contrast, some heads of careers in schools describes themselves as advocates of implementing new technology and introducing students to the digital world using social media to engage students and this made them be less determined when the answers are not a few clicks away. A research named generation Y research highlighted that students` nowadays over-rely on the social media to provide answers at the expense of in-detail research (Carr, 2010).

Nevertheless, some lecturers who understand that social media does more harm than good to their students, had to ban their students from the use of some internet accessing gadgets such as mobile phones during class hours. The latter was a source of distraction in classes and most students used them in class for playing games, chatting and ever receiving calls during class time other than paying attention to what is being taught. Others allow their students to come with them in school but switch them off on arrival and when caught using them during day time, they must submit them to the administration. Since most of the students, nowadays are relying on the internet for accessing answers to most questions, being in possession of this internet enabled phones encourage them to cheat during examination periods. However, it is unfair to blame digital social media since the problem lies with the abuse of the users for allocating all their time in the social media. The Twitter users should be limited the number of characters to chat with such as 140 or even less. Currently in the USA, the news broadcasters have limited their stories so as to promote the digestion of their news by their listeners. Other media outlets such as CNN have prioritized the better parts of their news in order to maintain their listeners` attention (Charness, 2003).

In other words, in order win the public`s eyes, ears and attention, news anchors must make sure that their news is relevant and interesting. The same should happen in workplaces where, for example, in a meeting, the leaders and presenters should try the best to win their audience`s attention by delivering the points that are relevant to that meeting and making them as interesting as possible. Thus, it prevents some of the members from distractive thumbing through text messages or their emails, opening their laptops or even tapping their I Pads. However, in order to prevent members from the temptation of multi-tasking in such meetings, they should be kept free from I Pads, smart phones and laptops during the process of meeting discussions. Such meetings are strangely entertaining as each and every member is forced to keep off every buzz and chirp and instead focus on the discussions at hand, no questions regarding follow-up items and the objectives of that meeting are met with minimal distractions. Moreover, in relationships, couples should avoid using their I Pads, laptops and other similar gadgets especially when the other partner is talking. Lack of each other’s attention can lead to conflicts and even family break-ups. Individuals should avoid distractions as much as possible and live according to the situation at hand. That is, when they are in a meeting they should tune themselves in that meeting and the same should also happen if they are in a discussion (Carr, 2010).


Individuals requires to speak less and listen more in each and every conversation rather than taking much of their time thinking a lot about what they need to say than listening what is being said. Moreover, on twitter and face book where texting is a day to day activity, individuals should try and make or communicate in complete thoughts and sentences rather than allowing the closeness of the medium utters the quality of the conversation. It facilitates the individuals to continuously enhance their communication skills, psychological intelligence and self-recognition. In schools, lecturers should ban students from attending class hours with mobile phones and in any case they might be having them but having been switched off in order to minimize distractions that arise as a result of these phones. Technology should be aimed at enhancing our ability to collaborate with other individuals rather than substituting the need for personal interaction. Productive and real relationships with others facilitate companies in achieving measurable levels of success (Charness, 2003).


Baym, N. K. (2010). Personal connections in the digital age. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Carr, N. G. (2010). The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Charness, N. (2003). Impact of technology on successful aging. New York, NY: Springer.