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  • Akash Walavalkar

The Goldfish Effect

The internet, just like anything else, has its positives and negatives. We can find information on any topic relating to innumerous subjects on the internet. There are an insurmountable number of articles and videos providing information on anything and everything you would want to know about. However, it is this abundance of information which causes harm to our ability to concentrate and focus.

In 2015, Microsoft released a study stating that the average human attention span was eight seconds, 4 seconds lower than the 12 seconds in the year 2000. Eight seconds is also lower than the attention span of a goldfish (with an attention span of nine seconds) and thus the term ‘Goldfish Effect” emerged to describe how short our attention spans can be.

So what caused this drop in our attention span?

This drop in our attention span might be an adaptation to the ever increasing amount of media we are bombarded with. If something ever gets even slightly boring or uninformative for even a small amount of time we move on to something else to give our attention. Such as if a book gets slightly boring, or an instrument is too difficult to play, we instantly move on to another source of entertainment or information. This happens because we always have so many forms of media constantly trying to grab our attention. Thus, if we don’t receive instant gratification from a particular source we immediately move on to another looking for it.

So, how do we fix this problem? Well, it is difficult to completely stop using the internet as most of us have important work to do, however we can stop using it when we don’t need it. For the next few days try to be conscious of when you grab your phone or turn 0on the computer. Try to avoid going on social media the instant you find yourself with nothing to do and while you may do it unconsciously at first, stop as soon as you catch yourself. You should try to reduce the “dependency” you may have developed on your phone to provide you with gratification when you need it and try to feel bored once in a while.

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