Just because we may be allocating our attention differently as a function of the technologies we may be using, it doesn’t mean that the way our attention actually can function has changed,” Morton told the Ottawa Citizen. “Digital technologies dovetail seamlessly into the information processing abilities of our brain.”
The study further reveals that the rate at which humans now process information is faster than before handheld technology took hold of everyday life. Among the top four factors that impact attentions spans the most are media consumption, social media usage, technology adoption rates and multi-screening behaviors.
With regard to these factors, the study found that attention spans vary according to how one consumes media and at which rate they adopt to using it.
For example, those who adopt to social media the quickest are able to process information from interactive environments (TV) better than people who adopt to social media at a slower pace. Reversely, the so-called “late adopters” of social media tend to process information faster in non-interactive environments (not TV).
|Scooped by Howard Rheingold|
This new study by Microsoft seems to indicate that the average attention span has diminished from 12 seconds in 2000, to around 8 seconds today. The infotention angle is that those who use social media and multiple screens process information faster. Still a very crude measure, but the hypothesis I'd like to see pursued is that some people have taught themselves to coordinate their attentional mechanisms and their media more effectively. Classic Nass study on media multitasking indicates that it does not improve productivity; however, the Nass study was about more general media-related activities using unrelated information streams., not (as he told me) on how people consciously coordinate attentional activities and multiple related information streams.