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随身英语

Pay attention! 请注意!

鱼比人类更聪明这个说法是真的吗?金鱼的注意力持续时间要比人类的长,这也是真的吗?本期《随身英语》讨论多屏的现代生活给人们的注意力持续时间带来的挑战。

课文内容

Vocabulary: Concentration 词汇: 注意力

I wonder how many of you will read this article or listen to my voice right through to the end? With our busy lifestyles and continuous distractions, it's hard to stay focussed on one task and I wouldn't be surprised if I lose you somewhere along the way – but we'll see!

Some experts believe that out attention spans are actually shrinking. We often joke that goldfish have the shortest level of concentration, so much so that they forget what they saw nine seconds earlier. Well now a study says that humans have an even shorter span – just eight seconds. This I can believe – there's always so much to do and so much to remember that my brain gets overloaded and I find it hard to zero in on one thing.

Of course, smartphones, the internet and social media all take up a lot of our attention. Chicago-based research firm Dscout found that we look at our mobile phones for, on average, 2.42 hours every day. It is tempting to keep glancing at our phones when we should be focussing on other things and it's something we didn't and couldn't do before the boom in digital media and smartphones, so maybe that's why the amount of time we can concentrate has been dropping. A report carried out for Microsoft said the average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds but has now fallen to just eight seconds.

However, a BBC radio programme called More or Less, couldn't find evidence to back up Microsoft's report. It spoke to Dr Gemma Briggs, a psychologist at the Open University, who says there are problems with the idea of measuring attention spans and it's all down to the individual person, "so attention-switching ability may well have developed in recent years, in the age of the smartphone and the internet. But because someone's distracted by their smartphone… it doesn't mean that they then don't have the ability to control and sustain their attention when they carry out another task."

This suggests we're getting better at switching our attention quickly between different tasks; we can multi-skill better than before so we can achieve more things. This is useful in the modern workplace where we need to turn our hand to many different jobs.

But for people who want to grab our attention, such as advertisers, they have to think of clever ways to make us sit up and take notice of them. And there are still times when something demands our full attention, without any distractions, like reading or listening to this article. Did you make it to the end?!

词汇表

distraction 分散注意力的东西,分心的事情
focussed 专注的
task 任务,工作
attention span 注意力持续时间
shrink 缩小,变小
zero in on something 把注意力全部集中于某事
glance 快速的看一眼,扫视
sustain 维持
multi-skill (同时拥有)多种技能
turn our hand (我们)去尝试
grab our attention 抓取我们的注意力
full attention 全部注意力

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. According to the article, which creature has a longer attention span than humans?

2. What distracts us more today than it did back in the Year 2000?

3. What did research firm Dscout find we did 2.42 hours a day?

4. Which word in the article means 'succeed in doing or completing'?

5. Why do advertisers have to think of clever ways to make us sit up and take notice of them?

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处

1. Campaigners would like to see a total ban on phone use in cars as it increases your likelihood of being involved in a crash. They say it's the ______ of the conversation that's the main danger.

distracted       distraction       distracting       distractions

2. Scientists say Arctic reindeer are ______ in size due to the impact of climate change on food supplies.

concentrating       glancing       focussing       shrinking

3. Fashion advertisers need to ______ on young people by getting their message across on social media.

zero out on       zero in on       zero on       zeroing in on

4. The exploration found that the planet is unable to ______ human or plant life.

sustain       glance       concentrate       task

5. She wore a bright red dress and high heels to try and ______ his attention.

span       glance       full       grab

答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. According to the article, which creature has a longer attention span than humans?
It's claimed that a goldfish has a nine-second attention span, which is more than the eight-second human attention span!   

2. What distracts us more today than it did back in the Year 2000?
Digital media and smartphones – it's something that had just been invented back in 2000.    

3. What did research firm Dscout find we did 2.42 hours a day?
That we look at our mobile phones for, on average, 2.42 hours every day.    

4. Which word in the article means 'succeed in doing or completing'?
Achieve.

5. Why do advertisers have to think of clever ways to make us sit up and take notice of them?
Because we have our attention on so many other things.

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

1. Campaigners would like to see a total ban on phone use in cars as it increases your likelihood of being involved in a crash. They say it's the distraction of the conversation that's the main danger.

2. Scientists say Arctic reindeer are shrinking in size due to the impact of climate change on food supplies.

3. Fashion advertisers need to zero in on young people by getting their message across on social media.

4. The exploration found that the planet is unable to sustain human or plant life.

5. She wore a bright red dress and high heels to try and grab his attention.


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