Study: Smartphone use shortening human attention span


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –  According to researchers, smartphones are taking a toll on your attention span. An expert says it’s because humans are bombarded with various types of information that are available at anytime.

Reporter question: “How many times do you think you check your cell phone?”

“Probably well over 50 definitely I’m on it all the time,” said Samantha Dipalma of Kenmore.

“Hundreds,” said Jonathan Slingerland of Buffalo.

“I’d say a hundred times,” said Paula Oruh of Buffalo.

A Nottingham Trent University study found that the average person checks their device at least 85 times a day, spending 5 hours on the web and using apps. That’s about a third of the time a person is awake.

Even while going for a run, Jonathan Slingerland says he wouldn’t go to Delaware Park without his phone.

“Strava it tracks your run, and you get to listen to Pandora,” said Slingerland.

A survey by Microsoft found that as a result of using smartphones the average attention span fell to 8 seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000. That’s shorter than the attention span of a gold fish, which is believed to be 9 seconds,

“It has to do with the amount of information that we have access to and that ever expanding amount of information and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop,” said Doctor Christopher Deline, Vascular Neurologist at Buffalo General Hospital.

“I definitely check it in the morning right before I go to bed, all day long,” said Dipalma.

Though smart phone use makes it tougher to hold your attention, Dr. Deline says it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it’s a great example of what we refer to as brain plasticity and how our brains change and adapt as our environments change,” said Dr. Deline.

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