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Attention span is the amount of time a person can concentrate on a single activity. The ability to focus one's mental or other efforts on an object is generally considered to be of prime importance to the achievement of goals.
Attention span in education
Elementary education often seeks to extend or develop attention span in children. Many teachers quote the myth that a person's attention span is 10 + Your Age minutes, and that anything taught after that is not taken in. Supposedly taking a five minute break after this time will help the class recover and replenish their attention span, but there is no evidence that this is actually successful or that this number of minutes has any basis in fact.
Attention span and television
Some critics of television broadcasting complain that the medium tends to attenuate or shorten attention span.
In a study of 2,600 children ages 1 to 3 published in 2004, a team of researchers from University of Washington found that early exposure to television may have a negative impact on attention span.
- An abstract of the study published in the journal Pediatrics
- An editorial piece on the study by Suzanne Fields in The Washington Times
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