NEWS12 May 2015

High digital engagement can shorten attention span

News North America

CANADA — Consumers with a high level of digital engagement are very alert at the beginning of a task but more likely to have shortened attention spans over time, according to new research from Microsoft.


Researchers from Microsoft Canada looked to test the effectiveness of communications in a changing media environment, as well as how people behave in multiscreen environments.

They found that digitally savvy consumers of all ages have high bursts of intense attention at the beginning of a task, but that this fades over a sustained period of time. Much of the information is still said to be retained, however.

Less frequent digital users show lower levels of attention at the beginning of a task, but increased attention to detail over time.

The research consisted of an online survey with 2,000 Canadian adults followed by a study of 100 people carrying out tasks while their brain activity was monitored using EEG.

The full report can be accessed here.