Is Attention Span The Secret of Raising IQ?
Speed Reading Rules
Scientists calculate the amount of time we can concentrate on a task
without being distracted, disrupted, or bored, as our Attention-Span.
Research indicates excessive TV and Web activity reduces A-S.
Children from ages 6 to 12 exhaust their Attention-Span within 5
minutes. Adults appears to maintain A-S up to 20 minutes.
Our eyes tend to shift from concentrating focus exclusively on one
goal within 5 minutes; internal dialogue (self-talk) interrupts us
every 8-10 seconds. It takes work to concentrate our Attention-Span.
Do you notice how often you are asking questions of your Internal Dialogue?
How about your Stream-of-Consciousness that has a judgment about all people,
places, and objects that cross your environment?
"I'm hungry, thirsty, bored of this!" "Let's go shopping at Bloomingdale's!"
"What a nose on that guy - Pinocchio!"
Volition (will, choice) is our weapon to quickly return our A-S to the subject
at hand. Our PreFrontal Cortex has a veto power over not sticking to the subject
until we are satisfied with our progress.
The more we activate our learning neural networks, including Boca's and Wernicke's Areas, the greater our capacity for memory and knowledge.
"The cells (synapses) that Fire together, wire together." D.O. Hebb. It means
repetition produces new neural networks, and makes knowledge acquisition
a form of habit. Habits put us on autopilot, and produces easy and quick
Fact: The average Internet visit is up to 60 seconds. We are learning the habit
of Immediate Gratification and Impulsivity through daily repetition on our
computer. So what? It reduces our ability to Concentrate, A-S, and memory.
Is your boredom factor less than a minute? You can increase it by strategies.
How can we improve our Attention-Span?
1. Listening to a lecture or reading a chapter of text requires an Interactive
inquiring mind. The opposite is passivity - quiet and uninvolved is deadly
to learning. How? Answer this set of seven questions in reviewing the material.
Who? What? When? Where? Why? Which? How?
2. Kinesthetic (movement + sensation) is using your sense of touch (feeling) to
write answers using keywords in response to the aforementioned seven questions. Note taking exercises your Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic (touch) senses. Always reduce your responses to writing.
3. Have specific goals you set before the lecture or text reading. Summarize it for a future exam or presentation; improve your general knowledge.
The ultimate in concentration is when we are In-the-Flow, a/k/a In-The-Zone.
It produces Peak Performances, a/k/a Optimal Experiences.
What is it? Those times when you catch yourself completely and totally absorbed
in watching a movie, with the characters in a book, or writing a report. We forget the clock because the activity becomes fun, a game, intriguing, not work.
What else? Ego falls away and we give ourselves over to the external event.
The originator of "Flow'" was a University of Chicago professor, M. Czikszentmihally. The activity cannot be too hard or too easy, it must use our
skills, and we are completely into the activity - for its own sake.
What happens as a result of Flow
Our memory skills improve, and we using our imagination to create mental-movies. Our Attention-Span increases each time we go into the flow, and makes
it easy to reproduce the next time - going into our Zone.
Once more - Flow is where Attention, Motivation, and the Activity meet
together as one. The result is a positive feedback-loop. We feel good and
absorb the material easily and remember permanently.
Three Facts of Recent Scientific Research
1. Humans are least happy doing nothing - even on vacation.
2. Homo sapiens are most happy and find pleasure in accomplishing
what we are skilled at.
3. We know nothing about making ourselves permanently happy.
We love a challenge that we are certain we can successfully accomplish.
We hate and fear how we appear to our peers when we fail at anything.
Our goal should be to expand our Comfort-Zone, and accept failure or rejection as
nothing more than a feedback-loop helping us learn what works.
For Superstars: there are four types of attention: sustained (in time), selective (specific), alternating (priority), and divided (multitasking). The more we use
Attention the stronger it becomes. It is a focus of Will (volition).
Your Brain is Active 24/7
Even when we are not paying direct attention, things (people and objects) in our
Field of Vision are considered information and encoded and stored in non-conscious
Why? It may have survival value and may influence future decision-making.
University of Texas, V. Dragoi, 3.30.09 Even if you ignore environmental stimuli, we
will still be sensitive to its content as potential knowledge. Paradoxically, paying
strict attention to everything around you may reduce learning. It's a distraction, and we are poor multi-taskers.
When we are mentally involved in verbal testing, a left-hemispheric function, our
right-hemisphere goes into relaxing Alpha brainwave rhythm, not to interfere with the Beta (conscious activity) of our left-brain. No conflict is permitted.
During spatial tests - a right-hemispheric function, our left-brain snoozes in Alpha.
Would you be more competitive in school and your career, with the skill to
pay total attention on-demand, and to read-and-remember three (3) books,
articles, and reports in the time your peers can hardly finish one?
Ask us how.
Speed Reading Rules
copyright © 2009 H. Bernard Wechsler