A new study published in Nature Communications on Monday found that humanity’s collective attention span is getting shorter — a remarkable side effect likely attributable to technology.
“The world has become increasingly well connected in the past decades,” researcher Philipp Lorenz-Spreen said in a press release. “This means that content is increasing in volume, which exhausts our attention and our urge for ‘newness’ causes us to collectively switch between topics more rapidly.”
The researchers cited Twitter hashtags as one example of this shortened attention span, noting that a hashtag that made it into the daily top 50 on Twitter would stay there for an average of 17.5 hours in 2013, but just 11.9 hours in 2016.
“It’s already calming to me that it’s not just me becoming a grumpy old man, but that we have shown quite convincingly that the world (at least some parts of it) really is moving faster than even a few years ago,” researcher Sune Lehmann Jørgensen told Inverse. “Our finding is that the ‘constant barrage’ is coming at you with increasing speed!”
READ MORE: Abundance of information narrows our collective attention span [Technical University of Denmark]
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