According To Microsoft, Human Attention Spans Are Now Shorter Than A Goldfish’s


Is Technology Making Your Attention Span Shorter Than A Goldfish’s?

If you’ve ever found it hard to concentrate on one thing without stopping to check your emails or post to social media, you’re not alone. The average human attention span – how long we can concentrate effectively on a single task – was recently reported by Microsoft to have dropped below the level attributed to goldfish.

This certainly plays to our fears about what the daily flood of social media and emails is doing to us, and to younger generations in particular. However, these figures may be misleading. For one thing, the report contains no real detail for either the goldfish or human attention span beyond the numbers on the web page Microsoft pulled them from.

More importantly, our minds are adaptive systems, constantly reorganising and refocusing our mental faculties to suit the environment. So the idea that our ability to pay attention may be changing in response to the modern, online world is neither surprising nor anything to necessarily worry about. However, there is an argument that we must take care to keep control of our attention in a world increasingly filled with distractions.

The increasing number of distractions in our world is partly due to the new and ever-evolving ways in which advertisers can put their message in front of us – and the “increasingly immersive” techniques they’ll use once the message is there. Realising this helps us understand that our attention is a resource being fought over by advertisers.

The online world is increasingly comprised of spaces where advertisers attempt to tempt us with their products. Similarly, public spaces are increasingly full of adverts that can play sound and video to further capture our attention. Escaping this advertising battleground is becoming one of the luxuries of the modern world. It’s why paid-for executive lounges at airports are free from noisy, garish adverts and why the removal of adverts is a key selling point for paid-for apps.

Our mental abilities are changing, as they always have done in order to best serve our success in changing environments. But now, more than ever, our environment is made by those who either want our attention or want to sell access to it. It will certainly be interesting to see how our cognitive abilities adapt to meet this new challenge. However, as individuals we too must start valuing our attention as much as the advertisers do.

Martin Thirkettle, Lecturer in psychology, The Open University and Graham Pike, Professor of forensic cognition, The Open University

Original source

21 Solid Barney Stinson Life Advice That Won’t Backfire In Any Way


“Think of me like Yoda but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I’m awesome. I’m your bro – I’m Broda!”
How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother

1. “Okay, pep talk! You can do this, but to be more accurate, you probably can’t. You’re way out of practice and she’s way too hot for you. So, remember, it’s not about scoring. It’s about believing you can do it, even though you probably can’t.”

2. “In my body, where the shame gland should be, there is a second awesome gland. True story.”

3. “Suits are full of joy. They’re the sartorial equivalent of a baby’s smile.”

4. “Whatever you do in this life, it’s not legendary, unless your friends are there to see it.”

5. “Chicago? Is that even a real place?”

6. “Every hookup at a weekend wedding is decided at Friday Night Drinks. Get stuck with the wrong girl, the only action you’ll be getting all weekend is a self five and I don’t mean the cool kind.”

How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother

7. “Cray Cray gotta go bye bye, before you get stabbed stabbed.”

8. “Wingmanship is a two way street.”

9. “A kid needs a pet cobra.”

10. “Never screw over a girl whose last name ends in a vowel, because she’s got brothers.”

11. “With great penis comes great responsibility.”

How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother

12. “Golden Rule. I do not buy dinner to get the Yes. Dinner is a very intimate activity. It requires a level of connection and eye contact that sex just doesn’t.”

13. “Kids!? No! Don’t have kids! The rule is no kids until you’re at least 45. Don’t you EVER read my blog? It’s gotten a lot better.”

14.“People like being lied to. They just don’t like finding out they’ve been lied to.”

15. “You know what they say about relationships. Every waking moment’s a battle.”

16. “There are so many great things to do with the human mouth, why waste it on talking?”

How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother

17. “Ahh tweed, the official fabric of the eunuch.”

18. “That’s what corporate America wants: people who seem like bold risk takers, but never actually do anything.”

19. “Let me tell you about a little thing I like to call ‘mind over body’ … You see, whenever I start feeling sick, I just stop being sick and be awesome instead. True story.”

20. “You’re different. Now I suppose you could learn to love yourself for the unique little snowflake you are or you could change your entire personality… which is just so much easier.”

21. “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.”

5 Simple Things To Make Your Life Better


TIME

1) Want to be happy?

It’s more about perspective than anything else. Write down three good things that happen to you every day.

Via Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being:

Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).

Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?”

(More on happiness here: Things that are…

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3 Things Psychopaths Can Teach About Happiness


You’re a good person, or at least you’re trying to be. Me too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from the bad guys, the really bad guys — psychopaths.

What We Can Learn From Psychopaths:

1) Focus On The Positive And “Just Do It”
What most people don’t know is that the famous Nike slogan “Just Do It” was actually inspired by the words of psychopath Gary Gilmore.
When Kevin used TMS to give himself a “psychopath makeover” he said he felt energized and confident. His foot “came off the brake.”
There are plenty of times where this type of drive can help us overcome fear, indecision and worry. Here’s Kevin:

Since going into this field, I focus on the positive a lot more. This is something that psychopaths do. People say, “I want to put in for a raise, but I’m really scared.” Why are you scared? You’re scared because you’re afraid that you’re not going to get it. You’re scared because you think that the boss is going to say “no.” You’re afraid of how embarrassing that would be, and how undervalued that would make you feel. Instead, focus on the fact that you might get it. If you think along those lines and act accordingly, you are more likely to get that thing you want.

2) Live In The Moment
Remember how similar psychopaths were to Buddhist meditators? While they’re not totally the same, both had increased rationality and kept cool under pressure.
Research shows meditation can help you get these good aspects without the psychopathic bad elements.

3) Be Able To Uncouple Behavior From Emotion
You don’t want to do this all the time, but there are plenty of moments where this can really help.
Why do you procrastinate? Research shows negative emotions are a huge part, and when you can separate emotions from action you stress less and accomplish more.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

Original Source – TIME

50 Shades of Misconceptions


I found this while searching for bibliography for a sociology college paper, very interesting.

Understanding Social Media

In 2011, a book titled “50 shades of grey” became a best selling novel. It focused on an intense relationship between two protagonists that became very controversial through introduction of moderate BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism) sexual scenes. Following the book, BDSM as a sexual lifestyle became a topic of mainstream discussion. At the same time, the book outraged the BDSM community since it hinted that their culture would stem from deep childhood trauma and include abuse. I’ve read “50 Shades of Grey” as well as the two following books and I did find the descriptions of relationships very disturbing. That’s why for this assignment I decided to look into the practices of an online BDSM community and see how do they present who they are.

287546-fifty-shades-of-grey One of the official “50 Shades” promos

To achieve that goal I proceeded with an online ethnography. That means I observed a forum and…

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Always Late? How to Never Be Late Again


Are you always showing up 5 to 10 minutes late to things despite your best intentions? Or maybe you’re just underestimating how long tasks will take…experts call this behavior/tendency “planning fallacy”.

Here are some simple changes you can implement immediately, according with clinical social worker Lisa Bernstein:Always Late Again

  1. Don’t double book, you can be in two places at the same time.
  2. If you have a morning meeting, have clothes ready the night before and use an alarm without a snooze function.
  3. Use a calendar to block out meeting times, with travel and transition time(s).
  4. Set a warning alarm on phone for when you need to get ready to leave and another alarm for when you need to get out the door.
  5. Try to get to a meeting early and reward yourself with coffee or time to relax.

Since I’m a “planning fallacy” person myself I’ll apply these simple step changes on a regular basis from now on, hope it makes wonders…and never be late again.

If you do it also, please give some feedback here, I’m looking forward to see the outcome.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

How to Scientifically Train Your Mind to Be Happy


TIME

Training your mind to look for errors and problems (as happens in careers like accounting and law) can lead you toward a pervasive pessimism that carries over into your personal life.

Via One Day University Presents: Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness (Harvard’s Most Popular Course):

We discovered if you play Tetris for too long you start parsing the world into “How do I make straight lines.” It’s great if you’re playing Tetris, but maladaptive if you’re not. This is called The Tetris Effect. It’s the same thing if I take a flash photograph of you. That flash should leave a blue or orange dot in your vision.

The same thing happens to us on the cognitive level. I’m working with a very large accounting firm right now, working with tax auditors on how to make them happier. I discovered the tax auditors who are the most successful sometimes…

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The Psychology Of Why Valentine’s Day Ruins Relationships


Valentine's Day PsychologyValentine’s Day typically serves as a time to show appreciation for that special someone in our lives or as an opportunity to take a relationship to the next level. It’s a time to celebrate love in all of its forms, but can Valentine’s Day be a dangerous time for the health of your relationship?

Valentines Day

Alternatively, rather than instigate problems in relationships, Valentine’s Day could exacerbate existing issues (known as the “catalyst hypothesis”). Basically, Valentine’s Day may be a time when all those problems that you and/or your partner might have swept under the relational rug resurface and wreak their havoc. Struggling relationships may falter under the extra pressure of the holiday. Maybe you’ve been a lousy partner all year and your poor efforts on Valentine’s Day are just the last straw. Relationships with big problems were probably headed for a breakup anyway, and Valentine’s Day just provided the extra push to get them there sooner.

Original Source – Business Insider

How to Not Sweat the Small Stuff


TIME

As a retiring worry wart, there are times I’m faced with minor issues, personal and professional, that seem to drive me crazy, but are really not worth the added stress. I used to destroy myself over every little problem that arose in my life, from completing homework to witnessing unethical behavior to chipping a newly painted nail. But with observation, insight, and honesty, I began to identify what was worth stressing over and what was not. Below are some helpful concepts that I’m learning to use and practice in my everyday life.

1. Think.

Take a moment, breathe, and think again. Think about the issue and what’s causing you more stress. Then think to yourself about how this will really affect your life. Some of the worst decisions come from acting too quickly. Think through the consequences or the possible outcomes of this problem.

2. Question.

How will this event…

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