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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Your Attention Please - Is the ability to focus overrated?

I was reading a Wall Street Journal article in their Life and Culture section about attention and distractibality.  The article presented infomation from several studies that support there are perhaps benefits to be associated with distractability.

So all those times I was caught daydreaming in class... was that really such a bad thing?

...scientists have begun to outline the surprising benefits of not paying attention. Sometimes, too much focus can backfire; all that caffeine gets in the way. For instance, researchers have found a surprising link between daydreaming and creativity—people who daydream more are also better at generating new ideas. Other studies have found that employees are more productive when they're allowed to engage in "Internet leisure browsing" and that people unable to concentrate due to severe brain damage actually score above average on various problem-solving tasks.
The aeticle points out that the studies (and there were several mentioned) all involve college students and while they are revealing, they do not taken into account the challenges children facing ADHD experiance in school or the impact upon those who fail to graduate from high school.


Does distraction provide positive opportunities and lead to greater open-mindedness? What do you think?
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