Attention span

Attention span

Attention span is the amount of time a person can concentrate on a single activity. The ability to focus one's mental or other efforts on an object is generally considered to be of prime importance to the achievement of goals. People usually have a longer attention span when they are doing something that they enjoy.

In an empirical study published in 1971, mothers of 232 pairs of twins were interviewed periodically about the similarities and differences in behavior displayed by their twins during infancy and early childhood. The results showed that each of the behavioral variables temper frequency, temper intensity, irritability, crying and demanding attention had a significant inverse relationship with the variable attention span. Consequently the twin with longer attention span – the one better able to remain absorbed in a particular activity without distraction – was the less temperamental twin [Wilson, R. S., Brown, A. M., & Matheny, A. P. Jr. (1971). Emergence and Persistence of Behavioral Differences in Twins. "Child Development, 42" (5), 1381-1398. ] .

In a study of 2,600 children ages 1 to 3 published in 2004, a team of researchers from University of Washington found that early exposure to television may have a negative impact on attention span. [ [] Abstract of the study published in the journal "Pediatrics"] [ [] An editorial about the UW study by Suzanne Fields in "The Washington Times"] It has also been suggested that internet browsing can have a similar effect. [ [] BBC article on how the internet affects attention span]


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  • attention span — n. the duration of a person s ability to concentrate or pay attention …   English World dictionary

  • attention span — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms attention span : singular attention span plural attention spans the length of time that you can pay attention to one thing without becoming bored or thinking about something else a short/limited attention span …   English dictionary

  • attention span — noun The length of time, or span that one can pay attention, or concentrate on one topic without becoming distracted. He has learning difficulties because of his short attention span …   Wiktionary

  • attention span — at tention ,span noun count the length of time that you can pay attention to one thing without becoming bored or thinking about something else: a short/limited attention span …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • attention span — at tention .span n [C usually singular] the period of time during which you continue to be interested in something ▪ Children often have a short attention span …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • attention span — /əˈtɛnʃən spæn/ (say uh tenshuhn span) noun the length of time during which a person can concentrate effectively: *But Mr Beattie said children, especially primary school children, did not have the attention span to cope with a 9am to 5pm school… …   Australian English dictionary

  • attention span — noun the length of time you can concentrate on some idea or activity • Hypernyms: ↑span * * * noun, pl ⋯ spans [count] : the length of time during which someone is able to think about or remain interested in something people with short attention… …   Useful english dictionary

  • attention span — noun Date: 1934 the length of time during which one (as an individual or a group) is able to concentrate or remain interested …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • attention span — the interval during which an individual can concentrate, as on a single object, idea, or activity. [1930 35] * * * …   Universalium

  • Live from the Short Attention Span Audio Theater Tour!! — Infobox Album | Name = Live From the Short Attention Span Audio Theater Tour!! Type = Live album Artist = Kid Koala Released = 08 March, 2005 Recorded = November, 2003 Genre = Turntable, Hip hop Length = ?:? Label = Ninja Tune ZENCD101 Producer …   Wikipedia