Rosen: Enhancing Focus in the Age of FB, Texting, and other Culprits that Promote "Continuous Partial Attention"
Pew Internet and American Life Project 2012
How much do professionals multi-task?
* Gonzalez and Mark et al
How do students do at staying on task while studying? Are they distracted? And, what role does technology play in their focus and attention (observational study by Rosen)
- 279 students
- 15 minutes - observe every minute
- on task or off task
- what is on the computer screen?
- daily use of technologies
- Attention span seems to be around 3 minutes (same for computer programmers and medical students)
- The most off task students had the most open windows
- What predicts school performance?
- How much they stay "on task" (good)
- If they have strategies for studying (good)
- Preference for task switching (bad)
- Daily media consumption (bad)
- Whether they checked Facebook ONCE during the 15 minutes (Awful) (in this context it's more about the internal distractive qualities rather than the physical, external process of checking Facebook that causes distraction).
Two types of distractions
* external (beeps, rings, vibrations, sounds, etc.)
* internal (thoughts about what another person is doing, what is being said, etc.)
What are the concerns for our students and children?
* Online and electronic media consumption could contribute to a lack of social skills (Small 2010)
* Being online contributes to shallow thinking (Carr 2010)
* Electronic media consumption can alter brain development of stage-sensitive pathways (Healy 1998)
Mechanisms for Distraction
- Tech tasks could take away from time spent on other tasks important for development
- Interactive talk, body movement, sensory integration, lack of time for free play (Healy 1998)
- Tech skills could train the developing brain in new ways
- Could be rewired for multi-tasking, complex reasoning, decision-making (Small & Vorgan 2008)
Why do they do it?
- instinctive biological reaction to sudden and novel stimuli (think ticker on channel - it's moving!)
- dilation of blood vessels in the brain
- heightened mental arousal
- Attention grabbing ploys by media
- loud noises, sudden camera shifts, violent content
- initially cause an orienting response but then we become habituated to the plays
Is it really multitasking?
- "slack time"
- tech affords task switches (after hitting "send" there is time to do something else)
- task similarity
- task difficulty
- media inducement (news scroll bar)
- Dual task interference
- Bottleneck Theory
- Prefrontal Cortex Development
Costs of Multitasking
* Attention difficulties
* poor decision making
* breadth vs. depth of material
* information overload
* internet addiction
* poor sleep habits
* overuse of caffeine
* Virtual empathy
Laura Bowman study
- G1 read then test; G2 Instant Message, then read, then test; G3 Read, IM Read again, then test.
- G3 took longer, got same result at G1 and G2, but were more stressed.
Stanford Study (Ophir, Nass, & Wagner)
Wang et al (2012 Ohio State)
- IM led to 50% drop; voice 30% drop
Ellis, Daniels and Jauregui (2010)
- Multi-tasking affected GPA and was also significantly linked to risky behavior (multi-tasking increases stress, so the risky behavior reduces the stress)