David Charron on Attention Tracking

Do you have the energy to do everything but the focus to accomplish nothing? David Charron of UC Berkeley studies multi-tasking, distraction and sustainable attention. He has experimented with quantifying his own attention, and compared himself to a long-time meditator. Check out his results and the interesting audience questions in the video below. (Filmed at the Bay Area QS Show&Tell meetup on 3/24/11 at TechShop.)

David Charron – Attention from Gary Wolf on Vimeo.

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3 Responses to David Charron on Attention Tracking

  1. Trent Fowler says:

    What a fascinating talk. I’ve often wondered at the role attention plays in learning. My own theory is that attention serves as a sort of megaphone that broadcasts messages to the army of unconscious resources commanded by your brain. When you switch tasks a lot, it’s like having five people screaming different things at increasingly bewildered troops. Being focused attenuates this problems and allows all the might of the mind to be brought to bear on a problem. The potential to train attention is tantalizing- I thought it especially interesting that “dude” got better at the task as time went on.

    I’m not sure I know what the difference between “consciousness” and “attention” is. Any thoughts?

  2. Greg says:

    In the discussion, someone mentioned a method they called “consciousness bifurcation” for attention training. The idea, as I understood the description, is to put a person into a state of easy distraction with imposed alpha waves (is this done through binaural beat patterns?) and then challenge them with an attention-requiring test.

    Does anyone know anything more about this method?

    • I think that was me who mentioned bifurcation! iPhone keyboard is a bad way to explain; post on my blog or twitter @bulletproofexec and I can share more. Short version: alpha from white noise, consciousness from counting random beeps. Anyone want to collaborate on an iPhone app? I have the recipe and distribution, no time to figure out coding.

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