Do you have the attention span of a goldfish?

If you find that you can’t sit through a two-hour political debate … or even get to the end of a short news recap without your eyes glazing over … you’re not alone. And it’s not even because of who’s talking or what they’re saying!

As it turns out, science is on your side …

Research from a recent Microsoft study suggests that the average attention span has fallen dramatically during the past decade-plus.

Using data from surveys and EEG scans, researchers found that participants’ attention spans decreased from 12 seconds back in 2000 … to just 8 seconds in 2013.

This 33% decrease puts the average human being’s attention span at one second less than that of a simple goldfish.

This goldfish may be able to pay attention one second longer than the average human

Smartphones and the avalanche of content we’re bombarded with daily were two of the major culprits behind the decline.

But this isn’t just a problem of the young — the study found that attention spans are falling across generations.

Today, many of us find ourselves compulsively checking our smartphones — sometimes every minute or less. Millions of apps and access to the Internet in our pocket create the perfect storm for unlimited distractions.

Social media access at our fingertips is even causing medical institutions to warn of "social media addiction."

4 Natural Ways to Improve Your Memory

* Avoid fructose

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* Eat organic meat

* Add lion’s mane mushrooms to your diet

In 2012, researchers from the University of Bergen conducted a first-of-its-kind study about the ways in which people develop Facebook dependency.

Researchers linked social media use to the reward center of the brain that’s associated with preservation of our social reputation. Whereas another preliminary study found compulsive Internet use may induce changes in some brain reward pathways that are similar to drug addiction.

As an investor, you’ve probably noticed that smartphone sales are falling. But don’t be fooled — that doesn’t mean they are losing their popularity. It’s because most people already have one glued to their hand.

Last year in the U.S., more than 72% of the population reported owning a smartphone. This saturation of smartphones has overtaken our society in just the previous decade — we really don’t know the consequences both short and long term.

Do you personally find yourself a slave to your smartphone, social media or any other form of technology?

How about your children or someone you know?

Have you noticed your attention span getting shorter as the amount of information you are processing grows?

Please leave a comment in the comment section below to further this discussion and share with other readers effective ways you handle the new technology age we live in.

That’s all for today!

Happy and healthy investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Your thoughts on “Do you have the attention span of a goldfish?”

  1. As a psychologist I have been worrying about this for some time. Not only is our attention span decreasing but partially as a result of this neural path rewiring our contemplative thought is decreasing. This is a very dangerous phenomenon when you consider the implications for how we treat one another and stay in touch with our own humanity. The renewed popularity of “mindfulness” is an attempt to offset this process.

  2. “Smartphone” is a curious term for a gadget that is dumbing down people.

  3. Yes, indeed these new habits of staying glued to elctronics devices is causing serious mental heats issues such as depression, borderline personality disorder, suicidal attempts in younger generation.

  4. I looked at the report you reference, and it’s more interesting how it says what it says than what it says. No idea in that presentation takes no longer than about 10 seconds to process. That’s very frustrating for those of us with attention spans longer than a goldfish. It wore me out. Plus, it’s written for an audience of marketers, and explains that you should advertise in ways that your audience can get your point across in little more than a nano second. What is going to become of us when most people can’t focus for more than a few seconds. It makes for a pretty shallow existence.

    By the way, it reminds me of movie trailers, where they try to sell you on the movie by giving you a rapid fire barrage of images, which tells you very little about the movie. I can’t watch them–it gives me a headache.

  5. Teachers in after school Kid’s Programs can always tell which kids are addicted to video games: they have no imagination. In a room full of hundreds of art activities, musical things to do, games, toys, and just plain interacting with the other kids, these kids declare “there is nothing to do”. My adult kids are constantly on their devices, even when they come to visit me. I see people eating at restaurants but they are not communicating with each other, they are each on their own device. On a plane there was a young couple whose entire conversation lasted about a minute, since each was playing an individual game on their own device. Some people I know who are employers state that the new
    generation has poor social skills, poor attention span, and are easily bored .

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