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Is there any hope for our ever-shortening attention span?

Pexels/Greta Hoffman

NOTE: This show originally aired 2/1/23 .

Our attention spans are shot. There are countless things vying for our time and attention: meetings, emails, phone calls, endless pings from our social media accounts and devices, and on and on. It’s easy to get distracted and hard to get back on task. Is there any hope for us?

Dr. Gloria Mark, an informatics professor at the University of California at Irvine, has been studying our ever-shortening attention spans for three decades. It’s no surprise that technology has been a great disrupter.

In 2004, we spent about two and a half minutes on a task before moving on to something else. In today’s screen-dominated environment, we spend about 47 seconds before shifting our attention elsewhere.

And if you think you’ve mastered the art of multitasking, think again. Dr. Mark’s research shows that multitasking is a myth and is actually making us less productive. She shares her research and some solutions.


Dr. Gloria Mark, Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, where she researches human-computer interaction. She’s the author of “Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity.”

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.