Maybe you’re the type who can put up with — and even enjoy — a movie that’s more than two hours long before the pandemic. but you have Feelings have changed right Now?
It’s been two years since a pandemic is still ravaging the world, and the last timeThe Omicron variant that made up 73% of new cases in the US
One potential side effect could be our inability to focus on much of anything else – like a movie. Planning to sit through one? The last runtime of Oscar-hungry movies like “Dune,” “House of Gucci” and “West Side Story” is over 2 hours 30 minutes. Are you checking out the latest Netflix or HBO drama? It probably has an hour long runtime per episode.
It’s unclear whether the COVID era has a measurable impact on how much we pay attention, though experts confirm mental exhaustion diffuse.
“Covid has largely taken up my attention,” he says. Kathleen Schmidt, Director of Advertising at Skyhorse Publishing. “I can only read an entire book if it’s an audio book. The prospect of making a 2.5 hour movie feels like torture.”
advocate for social justice Leah Taylor Schwartz He adds, “I can’t watch an entire movie anymore. I set goals to read one chapter of a book when I would have previously enjoyed a good book.”
“COVID has resulted in many people being exposed to cognitive overload, in which our brains become shortened due to being overwhelmed by the information our brains are trying to process,” says Crystal Burwell, M.D., director of outpatient services at Newport Healthcare Atlanta. “External stimuli and the nature of the environment play a major role in attention spans and building emotional resilience to combat COVID stress.”
The pandemic has speeded up shifting attention spans and made it easier for people to satiate themselves with shorter-form content instead.
“This conflict has been escalating since before COVID,” says Sabrina Romanov, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University. “We only have a finite amount of mental resources and energy. And the more complex this becomes, we must compensate for the energy drain by cutting out unnecessary or unnecessary drains of our mental reserves.”
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Are periods of interest actually decreasing? It depends who you ask.
Unless you’re living under a rock (comfortable!), COVID will somehow upend your daily life since March 2020, whether you’re a student, parent, young professional, or retiree.
“This high level of unpredictability has caused people to live with a higher level of excitement, anxiety and worry making it difficult to focus and invest in projects that require our full attention,” Romanov says. “Instead, it puts blind people up, while conserving their energy, to engage superficially in mindless activities or performances to distract themselves without feeling drained of their mental resources.”
People have been craving for shorter versions of the entertainment for a while.
“The influx of multiple types of entertainment — social media, YouTube videos, user-generated content — means there are more options than ever for shorter-form content,” says Yalda T. Ahls, founding director of the university’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers. California – Los Angeles. “Given the speed at which these platforms have grown, the demand was clearly there, long before the pandemic. Remember Quibi?”
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But not all experts are convinced that periods of interest are declining. Limited studies have shown that young people are able to maintain attention in the same way they did before the pandemic, but those who have already been infected with COVID-19 may experience cognitive deficits in the recovery phase.
“Even before the pandemic, there were conflicting ideas about whether or not our attention span was actually decreasing,” says Kyland Cooper, a cognitive scientist and neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine. “Our attention is likely to be variable depending on the task at hand, our mood, our environment and a host of other factors. This makes it difficult to study and find a ‘capture all’ measure to study over time.”
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Cooper says our concern isn’t even the main issue here – but the sheer volume of content we offer.
“We’re likely to have more stress, new requirements and overburdened with information,” Cooper says. “It’s not that we’ve lost the ability to watch and find ourselves immersed in long stories – whether it’s a movie, a series, or even a conversation – but instead we may have to spend more time thinking and dealing with the extra stress we haven’t seen before. And that’s definitely going to make a difference. to pay attention.”
People have also been used to binge, hash, pause, and pause entertainment over the past two years, says Christel Russell, professor of marketing at Pepperdine University.
“I think people may be having a hard time staying in longer movies as a result of this pandemic,” says Rachel Cavalaro, a licensed psychologist with Thriveworks in Boston. “Most people seem to consume most of their entertainment in 10 to 30 seconds bits, which can make it difficult to stay focused for an extended period of time, especially on a less intense show or movie.”
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The truth about epidemic fatigue
Pandemic fatigue is real (just ask the World Health Organization), which leaves people frustrated and fatigued with normal tasks.
“It’s normal to feel this way especially because the epidemic is an abnormal event that has lasted much longer than anyone initially thought,” says Cavalaro. “The increased isolation created a greater need for stimulation and communication.”
She adds that one to two years of that “can dramatically reduce your ability to pay attention.”
It’s also easy to distract people. “It’s very easy to look at the phone, browse in a separate window, do some errands or clean the house,” Cavalaro says. “These tasks seem more motivating or urgent because they get your attention rather than listening to a lecture, meeting, or administrative tasks.”
A 2015 study from the Boston Health Care System and Harvard University found that persistent attention improves over time, peaking at age 43.
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“It is likely that Covid fatigue will affect age groups differently if we consider a lack of motivation for daily tasks in relation to attention spans,” says Cavallaro. “Children and young adults will have a more difficult time paying attention in school, adults will have more difficulty completing work tasks in addition to household chores, and older adults may seem to have increased memory problems, but you can’t remember what you’re not paying attention to.”
In Russell’s view, attention span is not something that people need to try to ‘improve’.
“Entertainment by definition should be fun and interesting,” she says. “We found that consumers consume entertainment just as much as they consume food. Some like to eat, some like to eat, and some like to decorate—that is, they do something else and entertain in the background.”
If you want to improve your attention span, Cavalaro recommends “a healthy diet, regular exercise, meditation, and healthy, sound sleep.” Burwell suggests “therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness and grounding techniques (to help) focus our mind and body on being fully present in the moment.”
And if a movie of more than two hours still tickles your fancy after the past two years, so be it.
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