It's no secret that the public's attention span is dwindling. This is exemplified by the types of television shows people choose. These days, most entertainment options are fast-paced and action-packed. But a team of researchers thinks that this may be having a negative impact on individuals' mind body connection and their ability to learn.
A group of investigators from the University of Virginia assessed various aspects of children's learning skills after they watched one of two shows or were asked to draw for a period of time.
The results showed that those who watched nine minutes of the animated children's show SpongeBob SquarePants – which is up-tempo – were less able to pay attention, control their behavior or solve problems, compared to the group of children who watched the much slower-paced program Caillou, or to those who participated in art projects.
"It is possible that the fast pacing, where characters are constantly in motion from one thing to the next, and extreme fantasy, where the characters do things that make no sense in the real world, may disrupt the child's ability to concentrate immediately afterward," said Angeline Lillard, who led the study.
The findings suggest that it may become difficult for individuals to write their own motivational stories for success when they spend an excessive amount of time watching mindless television shows. This largely confirms some of what author and philosopher Ilchi Lee has said.
He tells people that they should work to unplug their minds from passive distractions like television. Instead, they should engage the brain in the moment and work to develop it whenever possible. Meditation and other techniques that foster a stronger mind-body link may be a wiser use of time.