People who experience difficulty with concentration and focus may feel that some inherent aspect of their personality or make-up is responsible for the concern, but there are certain psychological elements involved that typically hold the keys to greater focus–and that may explain why people in some situations find themselves unable to perform to expectation. Interestingly, one of the most common experiences in modern life today, that of hearing a conversation of someone on a cell phone, may be a major factor in attention and cognitive ability. a recent study performed at Cornell University has taken a look at the impact of one-sided conversations on the ability to function cognitively, an investigation which may have important implications for many focus-based tasks, especially driving.
The study worked with a group of participants who were asked to perform basic cognitive tasks while in the presence of either a one-sided or a complete conversation. The one-sided conversation was meant to mimic the experience of being near someone on the telephone, an experience that has become increasingly common as more people adapt to modern technological lifestyles. The researchers found that participants who were in the presence of one-sided conversations performed significantly less well on cognitive tasks than those in the presence of complete conversations. In fact, people who were in the presence of a two-sided conversation did not show any decline in their ability to complete the tasks.
Explaining that the inability to predict what someone will say likely creates difficulty in paying attention to the task at hand, and that single-sided conversations evoke this inability, the researchers note that activities such as driving may be seriously compromised when a passenger is talking on a cell phone. The issue may have more widespread applications, including the increase of difficulties for people attempting to gain greater focus through meditation or other actions.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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