384: Gloria Mark | Restoring Balance, Happiness, And Productivity By Mastering Our “Attention Span”

Professor Gloria Mark of UC Irvine joins on episode 384 of the show, where we go into detail on her latest book Attention Span.

From Gloria’s bio, “My research area is human-computer interaction (HCI) studying the interplay of technology with individuals, groups, and society. I study how people interact with information technology in their everyday life: how it affects multitasking, attention, mood, and above all, stress. Rather than bring people into a laboratory to study them, I go to where people are–the real world becomes a living laboratory.  Using precise objective measures, I found that  people’s attention spans have been shrinking over the last 15 years.  I combine these measures with others to create a very detailed, comprehensive, and in-depth understanding of what people experience when they use computer technology.

“We spend an average of just 47 seconds on any screen before shifting our attention. It takes 25 minutes to bring our attention back to a task after an interruption. And we interrupt ourselves more than we’re interrupted by others.

In Attention Span, psychologist Gloria Mark reveals these and more surprising results from her decades of research into how technology affects our attention. She shows how much of what we think we know is wrong, including insights such as:

  • Why multitasking hurts rather than helps productivity
  • How social media and modern entertainment amplify our short attention spans
  • What drains our mental resources and how to refuel them
  • The four types of attention that we experience every day and how to recognize them

While the concept of “flow” has previously been considered the ideal state of focus, Dr. Mark offers a new framework to help explain how our brains function in the digital world: kinetic attention. This book reveals how we can take control, not only to find more success in our careers, but also to find health and wellness in our everyday lives.”