Attention Span

Our minds have undergone a fundamental shift in how they work in the digital age. Gloria Mark’s new book Attention Span helps the reader find focus and restore balance.

Attention Span covers two decades of research on attention, multitasking, interruptions, email, and more. The book presents an optimistic vision of how we can use our technologies in the current age and still achieve positive wellbeing. The book discusses popular myths about our attention and refutes them based on research.

The book is divided into three parts:

The first part covers the science of attention. It takes a deep dive into mechanisms that underlie attention, and how they are affected when we use our devices, like when we multitask or are interrupted. In-depth research is provided into multitasking, interruptions, and the different types of attention we use.

The second part of the book presents reasons why we have so much trouble focusing our attention. We don’t use technology in a vacuum but are part of a larger sociotechnical world and this part of the book describes the technical, environmental, social, and individual influences on our attention.

The third part of the book presents a path forward. It discusses how we can achieve agency, and what we can expect with the future of attention in the digital age.

Attention Span will be published on January 10, and can be Pre-ordered here.

Gloria Mark is Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD from Columbia University in psychology and studies the impact of digital media on people’s lives. She takes a deep dive in examining multitasking, interruptions, and mood with the use of digital devices. She has published over 200 articles, and in 2017 was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy which recognizes leaders in the field of human-computer interaction. She has presented her work at SXSW and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and her research has appeared in the popular media, e.g. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Atlantic, the BBC, and many others.