Attention – Hard to grab!

Attention is the notice taken of an individual or something, regarding as interesting or important. It is someone’s focus on a certain topic, object or person. For instance, in a normal lecture or classroom, where students’ attention is supposed to be directed at the lecturer, it is usually diverted at their smartphones or their friends. Today, it can be said without a doubt that people are way more than distracted than they used to be and specifically as a result of combining factors; smartphones, apps and the internet. Traditionally someone would be distracted by the television, but nowadays even when watching television people are constantly distracted by other devices specifically personal smartphones and laptops. Individuals, especially the younger generation are constantly distracted as compared to younger generations 20 years ago. If all 22 year olds at a college like INTI was to ask their parents of their behavior when they were at their age in terms of their personal devices it would greatly differ from how they act now.

 Photo: AJEKXM, Skillip Computers and Society

Multi-tasking ability involves multiple processes happening at the same time. Therefore, measuring multi-tasking requires an assessment that can evaluate many tasks at the same time. Specifically, we want to think about the number of tasks, the time interval of the tasks, and the frequency of task-switching. Multi-tasking has saved individuals and companies more time and money across the world as a result of productivity metrics, sales performance and overall performance.

However, when we analyze the idea of attention economy where it is said that attention is a resource and that a person has so much of resources (attention). When multi-tasking an individual can only give enough attention at a time for each task at hand and reduces competency and efficiency to do each task at the best of someone’s ability. For instance, in a classroom where laptops and smartphones are constantly being used by students, most of them will be unable to absorb lectures while being constantly distracted by their various devices, thus, the use of those devices should be prohibited in places like classrooms (Wiseheart 2014).

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, calls working memory “the mind’s scratch pad”

When an individual is distracted or is attempting to multi-task, like a university lecturer marking assignments at home while also trying to socialize with family and watching television, that individual will be dividing his scarce attention. However, applying spatial thinking, each task allows us to systematically recall the other tasks. like the situation above, when the lecturer now goes to school in the morning and attempts to complete his marking he will be brought back to thinking of the television show he was watching when he was previously marking the assignment and what his family was discussing with him at that moment.

485207551 Michelle Miller

Therefore, attention is a growing issue everywhere, at home, in classrooms and even at work. It has its proven benefits in business and education, but its drawbacks are endless and long-term too.


Wiseheart, M et al, 2014, ‘Laptops hinder classroom learning for both users and nearby peers’, accessed 14 October 2015,


Comments on: "Attention – Hard to grab!" (1)

  1. Oh great that you tackle the issue of attention span especially on how we tend to perform multitask in school and work. Since the cyberspace is available anytime and anywhere, everything seems to happen at the same time. Our attention and concentration on a task become an issue when we are bombarded with too much information. So now we see the importance of data aggregation which can really tailor us the most relevant stuffs to us.

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