What has an attention span shorter than a goldfish? You, says Microsoft

Do you ever find yourself starting to read something, but only a paragraph or two into it you have to stop and pop open a new tab, pull out your smartphone for a quick browse, or any other number of distractions? Then it's right back to whatever you were doing originally, only you're constantly interrupting yourself with a seemingly endless litany of things, none of which are terribly productive? If that sounds like you, it's probably because you have an attention span shorter than a goldfish. At least according to Microsoft.

The conclusion comes from a study conducted by Microsoft, which surveyed in excess of 2,000 Canadian gamers. The idea was to see what the impact of our numerous mobile and easily-accessible technologies are on our lives. EEGs were used for the monitoring of 112 individuals, as well, which was factored into the study.

The result of the study was a massive 54-page report that concludes this technology has destroyed our attention spans, but has given us an incredible ability to multi-task. The average attention span of 12 seconds is now only 8 seconds, a 4 second decrease over the last 15 or so years.

This is now a second worse than goldfish, which the study claims have an (estimated) 9 second attention span. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Says the study:

While digital lifestyles decrease sustained attention overall, it's only true in the long-term. Early adopters and heavy social media users front load their attention and have more intermittent bursts of high attention. They're better at identifying what they want/don't want to engage with and need less to process and commit things to memory.

SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen