A lot of confusing figures are coming from the Internet about attention span.
There are stories of “average attention span” that don’t really make that much sense.
There was a recent report about average attention span shrinking from 12 seconds ten or twelve years ago, for the average man or a woman, to 8 seconds today.
But there are too many variables which haven’t been taken into account for those figures to have true credibility.
For a start, the research did not take into account the interest in the subject. Nor did it account for the need for the attention to be held. And then there’s the other aspect of how important the subject is to the student.
I worked with a man who claimed he had a very poor memory. He had difficulty remembering appointments, details of conversations, outcomes of meetings and so on, on matters related to his job, in which he wasn’t happy anyway.
That same man could name every individual member of every Manchester United team since the days of Matt Busby.
Where there is interest there is mental energy.
Interest absorbs information. A regular horse punter will evaluate a field of runners at a glance. An experienced accountant will assess a company's value in a five minute run through figures. Both of these examples illustrate how interest, experience, and knowing what to look for, can absorb information in a fraction of the time it would take for an average observer.
That’s why “attention span“ is open to interpretation. But one thing is strikingly clear.
People who are moderately fit, healthy, and well, physically, mentally, and emotionally, are endowed with higher self-esteem, greater optimism, and an inner confidence, that allows them use their abilities with creativity and productivity.
We'll be making some salient points about this on Friday, if you're interested, for about half an hour, starting at 9 am...