Fizzling focus: Attention span of Britons down to five minutes

November 26th, 2008 - 11:09 am ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 26 (IANS) Hectic lifestyles have nearly halved the attention span of average Britons from 12 minutes a decade ago to five minutes and seven seconds, a new research shows.Those over 50 had a much better attention span than younger groups, suggesting that impaired attention is due to fast-paced lifestyle rather than being age-related, according to a survey by Lloyds TSB Insurance.

As a result, common home accidents are on the rise and last year damage of more than 1.6 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) was caused by people not concentrating properly. More than 37,000 claims made in 2007 were water-related - largely due to baths and sinks being left to overflow.

Other common accidents include baths being left running until they overflow, door keys being misplaced, pans burning because they are left on the hob too long, leaving the freezer door open, forgetting to switch off a laptop left on a bed, leaving irons or hair-straighteners on and forgetting to turn off the oven.

The time of day when people are most likely to have an accident was found to be 7.55 a.m., when many people are getting ready for work or embarking on the school run.

The insurer carried out the survey on 1,000 people to find their ability to do small tasks and recall everyday events has worsened, reports the Daily Mail.

Of the participants, 18 percent blamed stress for their inability to concentrate while 17 percent said they were too busy trying to make decisions. Seven percent of the people admitted to momentarily forgetting their own birthday.

David Moxon, the social psychologist who led the study, said: “More than ever, research is highlighting a trend in reduced attention and concentration spans, and as our experiment suggests, the younger generation appear to be the worst afflicted. Lack of attention has a serious impact on task performance and increases the risk of accidents.”

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