Digitally Connected Humans Have Lower Attention Spans Than Even Goldfishes

Today digitally connected humans have an attention spans lower than a goldfish, according to a study conducted by Microsoft which surveyed over 2,000 people and monitored the brain activities of over 100 others.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. The goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds.

The report which focused on Canada, said, “Canadians with more digital lifestyles struggle to focus in environments where prolonged attention is needed.”

That’s true not just for Canadians, but people all across the globe, and while our attention spans have gone down, our ability to multi-task has definitely been on the rise.

According to the source, this is due to “external stimulation” like all that content marketing we’re producing and distributing across all the social media channels. The research states:

“Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals. It’s no surprise attention spans have been decreasing over the past decade with the increase in external stimulation.”

Additional Statistics on Attention Spans:

  • 25% of teenagers report forgetting important details about their friends and family
  • 7% of people forget their own birthdays from time to time
  • The average office worker checks their email 30 times every hour
  • Typical mobile users check their phones more than 150 times per day (Mary Meeker)
  • Content on the internet tripled between 2010 and 2013
  • Social media sharing has doubled from 2011 to 2013

It also found that more digitally engaged persons are better at identifying what they want to or don’t want to engage with and process and commit things to memory far more easily.