BUFFALO, N.Y. – Take a good look at that picture. Go ahead, click on it. Examine the goldfish for as long as you can. Look at the detail of its scales and the elegant contours of its fins. If you look long enough, its dark glassy eye may appear to widen and you may even notice a smile, or at least a smirk, emerge from its stony frown.
If researchers are correct, odds are you didn’t do any of that. They’d say you probably couldn’t read through the first paragraph, since it would take an average of 15 seconds to read. Your attention may have been diverted to another website or thumbing through your phone to read a new text message. The goldfish stayed with us.
If researchers are correct, your attention span is shorter than that of a simple Cyprinidae. You could run that word through Wikipedia but you’d only be proving their point: you can’t pay attention to just one task anymore. The goldfish stayed with us.
If researchers are correct, our attention span lasted an average of 12 seconds in 2000. Today, we can focus on a task for only eight seconds. The goldfish stayed with us.
If researchers are correct, our ability to focus during repetitive activities is sharply declining and more people are displaying “addiction-like behaviors” when it comes to mobile devices. Most of you will reach for your phone when you’re bored. The goldfish stayed with us.
If researchers are correct, most of us need to check our phones every 30 minutes or less and nearly all of us multi-task; using our mobile devices while watching other electronics like TV or using the computer. The goldfish is gone; off to eye its reflection or another morsel of food that still hasn’t made it to the bottom of the fish bowl.
If you made it this far, you could be one of the special few. With a laser-sharp focus and a strong determination unwavered by distractions. Kudos! You have a longer attention span than a goldfish.
Recently, Microsoft Corp. surveyed 2,000 Canadians and made these concerning findings in an effort to help marketing departments reach their multitasking audience. Buffalo construction accident lawyers say these distractions can influence safety in the workplace as well.
“Whether you’re in a car or on the job, cell phones can become a major safety hazard because it takes a person’s attention off the task at hand; we’ve seen several instances like this in Buffalo,” construction accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “When a person is distracted, they may not react fast enough to avoid a workplace accident.”
Several universities across the country are currently trying to combat distracted walking. Pedestrians with their eyes glued to their mobile devices have been, on many occasions, seriously injured or humiliated because they weren’t paying attention.
“If a worker is operating any type of heavy machinery, including a car, mobile devices can be very dangerous,” Cellino said. “However, we’re just starting to uncover how dangerous multitasking is; workplace falls, walking into walls or hitting your head on a low ceiling can all be caused by distractions.”
Critics of the digital world now have another reason to justify their fears of a technology-driven society. After all, who’s proud of our shockingly low attention spans? On the other hand, researchers believe this could be just another natural step for… oh look, the goldfish is back.