Attention Span: BCM240 · BCM240

3. Attention Span- Primary Research (2)

As another element to my primary research was the use of all the videos available online surrounding the idea of selective attention span (Selected attention can then be viewed as the process by which people find something upon which to concentrate, and the level of concentration they can continue to exert as distractions arise [WiseGeek, 2016]).  I have used the video’s to try and compare the younger and older generations in another aspect of attention.

Each participant was shown the three videos bellow and the results and evaluations of each can be found underneath each video. For the sake of the research becoming two big and detailed the generations have been split into two age groups, being bellow 18-30 years olds and 50+, so the participants fit into either of these age groups.

NOTE: If you haven’t seen the first two videos before don’t read the descriptions and have a go of them yourselves and feel free to comment your results.

Video 1- Selective Attention Test

DESCRIPTION- This video asks the viewer to count how many times the white team throw the ball and then once they have done that the video questions whether while they were counting they realised the gorilla that walked across the screen. This tests selective attention because people tend to miss very obvious things when completely focusing on something else.


Yes No
18-30 year olds 0% 100%
50+ year olds 33.3% 66.6%


None of the participants had seen the video before so it was interesting to watch their reactions

Video 2- Counting Red Cads

DESCRIPTION- The viewer has to count the number of red cards being shown in the deck but while that is happening things are changing in the background.

This is a very similar video to the one above but harder to pick what is happening, so it will be able to determine whether the viewer is able to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.


Yes Kind of No
18-30 year olds 16.6% 0% 83.3%
50+ year olds 16.6% 33.3% 50%


There were similar outcomes from the first video, meaning that overall the older age group did well at spotting things happening in the background.  In my experience when I watched the video I got so consumed in counting that I didn’t have time to focus anything else. I talked to one of the older participants that spotted the changing backgrounds and she said that she was relaxed and taking it all in while still counting. This could prove that when it comes to selective attention younger people are more likely to pay attention to what they have to and older generations even when focusing on something still pay attnetion to the surroundings.

Video 3- Dots disappearing

DESCRIPTION- This video is a scientific test sometimes used when testing ADHD but is a great video to see if the viewer can pay attention for a long period of time. There is one flashing dot in the middle and three dots surrounding it and when you focus on the flashing dot enough the other dots disappear. If only one or two dots disappear you have a shorter attention span than someone who can look at the flashing dots and all of them disappear.

RESULTS: How often did at least one dot disappear?

0-25% 25-50% 50-75% 75-100%
18-30 year olds 0% 33.3% 33.3% 33.3%
50+ year olds 16.6% 16.6% 0% 66.6%


Overall the results reflect the top two videos but as the first couple of columns show in the table there are still always going to be outliers. So in general terms the video does show that 50+ year olds do have higher attention spans but this doesn’t mean that all 50+ year olds have higher attention spans than all 18-30 year olds.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s