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Sora
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: How long can you concentrate and pay attention? Reply with quote

A) How long is your felt concentration span?

B) How long can you pay attention to an everyday situation?

I do not want to influence anyone who posts but is unsure about this, so I'll not say anything yet.
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skywatcher
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A) Depends on what I'm concentrating on. A good spectrum exists for things I'm interested in and not interested in, but generally in an everyday situatiuon, I'll get distracted by my own thoughts within a minute or two. Within the realm of thoughts, I can hold a particular train of thoughts indefinately. I've been known to still be thinking about the same thing from one end of the day to the other (and on more than one occassion overnight and into the next day). I can hold linear conversation with people for hours. I am unsure of what you question means so I am covering all bases here just to be sure I get the question answered completely.
B) Everyday situations? Such as classes or conversations? I generally pay attention through about 45 minutes of a class until my thoughts start to wander. Better seating might help, though. I pay attention though conversations until someone starts to talk to someone else or change the subject. I can generally talk for hours with someone unless they do those things. Most tasks I can work on indefinately, though I rarely need to because I know special tricks that get them done in half the time of anybody else. I do get bored with things pretty easily and either never start to do them (computer games) or just start them and it lasts about fifteen minutes.

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Chaotica
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Concentration on nothing - up to 45 minutes. Concentration on a conversation - depends on the person, from 5 minutes to 4 hours. Concentration on the book - until I read the book, not counting interruptions for sleeping. Concentration on work - until it's done.
2) Everyday situations... I guess it's written above, Concentration on work - until it's done (I don't know where to place it for sure). Dressing/make-up - about 10-40 minutes, I think, if I'm going outside.
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anna-banana
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: How long can you concentrate and pay attention? Reply with quote

A) How long is your felt concentration span?

if I'm interested in something I go into hyperfocus, I forget about food and sleep and everything else;

for things I'm not so interested in- a few minutes. on a good day.

B) How long can you pay attention to an everyday situation?

depends on the situation... maybe you'd like to define it a bit more...?
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Dragonfly_Dreams
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on what it is. If its something I really interested in I can pay attention for quite awhile, and neglect other things that need my attention. Embarassed If I'm not interested in it, or the person... eh... seconds at times.
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Odd_Duck
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm AS + ADHD which colors my take on attention a bit.

A) It depends on both what I'm trying to pay attention to and the day. Heck, it may even depend on the weather for all I know. For topics of little interest my mind wanders in seconds. Even for topics of casual interest a minute is my limit. I generally don't feel my attention drift -- I'll just suddenly realize that it's moved on to something other than the topic at hand. This is really embarrassing in conversations! I suspect this is a good part of the reason I'm so bad at small talk. For topics that are engaging or deeply interesting, I can go for hours and hours without realizing it. It is in some ways an almost trance-like state where all irrelevant external inputs get filtered out. It never feels like a long time for these topics. Conversations where this comes into play can be a painful experience for whoever I'm talking to. My wife once made the mistake of asking me to explain machine code on a business flight once before we were married. Two hours later I had to stop because we were landing. And she still married me! Smile I don't seem to have a natural point between these two extremes.

B) I've learned coping strategies over the years to deal with the two modes in (A) above, so I can artificially extend my concentration by self-medicating with stimulants (just coffee these days, but I have written huge volumes of code and papers with the help of cigarettes in the past). I find stimming also helps a lot -- so I pace during conference calls, bounce my leg in meetings or lectures, or more discrete stims such as stroking my beard for conversations and other situations where larger stims would be distracting to others. Consciously extending my concentration and forcing it to return to the task at hand usually helps, but sometimes it is a lost cause. Some gross estimates (with coping strategies in play):

  • Small talk: 30 seconds. I suck at this. Just can't generate interest and awkward pauses almost always ensue. Luckily, this is about the average amount of time expected in encounters such as getting coffee Smile
  • Important conference calls (where I participate): 30 minutes. After that I really have a hard time staying focused.
  • Broadcast conference calls (where I am just expected to listen): 0 seconds. These are hopeless. I mostly hope to absorb things through osmosis on these.
  • School lectures: 45 minutes. I currently attend class for 3 hours a night once a week (with a 10 minute break in the middle). I can usually force my attention for an hour or so, but after that it is pretty hopeless. After the break I am usually good for another 30 minutes or so (unless it is a new topic). Of course if the lecturer puts up slides with equations, code, graphs, or any sort of puzzle that needs solving I get completely derailed. They're complete cognitive crack for me.


Oops. Got to run now. I'm late for an appointment. Cheers!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: How long can you concentrate and pay attention? Reply with quote

A) How long is your felt concentration span?
"Felt"? My concentration span is so-so. I don't know how long because it varies. I get overloaded a lot and it's weaker when I am overloaded.

B) How long can you pay attention to an everyday situation?
Varies too. It depends on what is going on around me or if something is bothering me physically. I have various awareness of discomforts (like itching from clothing and strange sensations of various kinds) all the time and I think this interfers with me paying attention, even though I can do it. Also, it's easier to pay attention to certain subjects. I get bored really easily. It's not easy to pay attention when people are talking about what they did during the day, what happened when they were away, this sort of thing. I don't process auditory information well and it's easier for me to pay attention when I am reading instead of listening. When I am listening my head is moving all over the place, I don't just sit there and look at the person talking.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A) It varies depending on what I have to concentrate on. Talk to me about SpongeBob or TV and I'll concentrate very well. Talk to me about football (soccer in USA) or anything I don't like and I'd switch off in 3 seconds. Razz

B) It varies too, I can get bored easily sometimes, sometimes I don't.
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Orwell
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Re: How long can you concentrate and pay attention? Reply with quote

Sora wrote:
A) How long is your felt concentration span?

Depends. When necessary, I can achieve pretty ridiculous levels of focus for extended periods of time- I once completed an online AP class in a day, so that should give you a hint as to my maximum level of focus and concentration span.

Quote:
B) How long can you pay attention to an everyday situation?

In an everyday context, I tend to be a bit scatterbrained. Actually, a lot scatterbrained.
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sartresue
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concentration topic

This gets into the philosophical problem of consciousness and being. Actually I am not aware of the concentration because once I am aware of it I am no longer concentrating. What I mean by concentration is: such complete focus that I "lose" myself in the process.

I would need another person to be aware of when I slipped into the intense focus and measure the time lapse between entering the focus and then coming out of it. It is only when I come out of the focus that I can figure out what I did during it.Very Happy
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Exile
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My response would be identical to Anna-banana's.

Exactly the same.

IMHO, it's like a cat. Scan and focus.
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ToughDiamond
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Felt concentration span - It depends hugely on my motivation.

Everyday situations - the same.

My motivation is influenced by the amount of freedom I have - a lot of "attention material" takes the form of communication, where there's a sender trying to get specific ideas across. There, I'm not free to let my curiosity wander, though I'll sometimes see things in the material that weren't specifically meant to be communicated. Then there's the entirely different world of "stuff," where it's up to me what I focus on, or perhaps I have to focus on certain aspects of my surroundings for some or other required purpose, like driving safely. If I feel completely free to look into what I feel naturally curious about, I could focus for hours. The greater the external restrictions, the harder it is.

Those who speak or write to me make a difference with the syntax and style they use - if it's concise, clear, and credible then that helps a great deal. There are films I can follow, and films I can't. A good author (i.e. one that somehow transmits on my wavelength) can make me want to keep reading.

My mood plays a large part also. Anxiety can wreck my focus, it's a shame so much in the modern world depends on concentrating on seemingly scruffy packets of info that are created and imposed without much reference to where the recipient is at.
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JWRed
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A) How long is your felt concentration span?

About a second. No joke. This is why I am on federal disability.

B) How long can you pay attention to an everyday situation

About 10 minutes.
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Kauf039
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A & B) If it is something I'm interested in, there is no set time... usually until I HAVE to stop, either because I have to go to work or I'm about to fall asleep where I'm standing/sitting... I usually forget about food. If I am not interested in it, about 5 min. If I'm not interested and it has to do with someone else, about 5 min but I can fake that I'm paying attention and catch some of the important details even though my mind is elsewhere.
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2ukenkerl
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exile wrote:
My response would be identical to Anna-banana's.

Exactly the same.

IMHO, it's like a cat. Scan and focus.


SAME HERE! Actually, I often don't let myself get into hyper focus but, when I do, YIKES! I better not have any appointments, etc...
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