Attention Span

A Brief Exploration into Human Attention

Wolfpack,

So recently I made a bid on a project that was proposed on elance.com that I thought was particularly interesting. elance logo

The client was looking for writers to blog about Psychology. Especially psychology that can have practical real-world benefits. A more detailed description can be found on the proposal. But long story, short the client is looking for writers/bloggers who can write interesting, thought-provoking, and conversation-inducing articles.

So, the main focus of today’s post is going to be about the human attention span.

I’m writing an article on attention because I believe it’s one of the most applicable sub-topics of psychology in the sense that it has a lot very legitimate benefits to corporations and individuals to have at least a basic understanding of how attention actually functions in any given person.

Anyway, enough with the explanations and justifications for this article. Let’s get started with…

psychology

The Information-Processing Theory of Attention

This is not just one theory of attention, but rather an umbrella category of several theories of how human attention works.

Essentially, the common link between all Information-Processing theories is that the human mind can only process or focus, if you will, on a limited quantity of information at any given time. The more important that your brain decides a certain piece of information is, the more concentration it’ll give to it. Additionally, information can be either internal, or endogenous, information such as what you emotions you’re feeling at the moment, or it can be external, or exogenous, information like a car suddenly flashing its brights at you.

A simple analogy would be like that of a computer processor. Just like how your computer has to process internal information, like making sure that all Windows/MacOS processes are running as they should be, while simultaneously dedicating itself to external user-input like streaming a video on Youtube. The more important that the process is, the more processing power will be devoted to that task. computer

Now that sounds all fine and dandy, but in the real-world this can get quite messy. As your brain and the world around you basically bombard you with loads of data that your brain just simply couldn’t process all at once. And because of that there are multiple theories all attempting to explain a rather complex process.

Likewise, I will only focus on one sub-theory for this post. As trying to tackle them all on in a single blog post would be simply chewing off more than I can swallow.

Specifically, I want to cover the…

Early-Stage Attentional Selection Theory of David Broadbent

Without giving too much of a history lesson, I will mention that this theory was proposed by British Psychologist David Broadbent; who speculated that the human brain screens and filters information early on during the processing portion of your sensory perception.

In layman’s terms, this means that your brain basically says “Go” or “No-Go” right away when you perceive something in your environment.

For example, you’re walking around on the streets and you notice a dog tied to a light post coming up on your path. You take note of it, because your brain gave that bit of information a “Go” or ‘green light’. Meanwhile, you suddenly hearing someone talking behind you and you turn around to notice that it’s someone who just walked by you talking on the phone. You didn’t notice him at first because your brain deemed that information unworthy of your attention, therefore, your brain initially gave the talking guy a “No-Go” or ‘red light’.

Traffic Light

And that’s the basic jist of Broadbent’s theory. He argued that there was a bottleneck right after the sensory store, the part of your brain that stores all information, initially, perceived by your senses.

There’s been a lot of evidence done in empirical experiments that concurred with his conclusion. The most notable of these was the dichotic listening experiment. Which I’ll go over really quickly right now.

Dichotic Listening

Basically, what happened here was that another British Psychologist, E. Collin Cherry, took a bunch of test subjects (technically, participants is the proper term) and made them listen to two different sound sources through a pair of headphones. The subjects would put on a pair of headphones, and the experimenter would play through a pre-defined recording for each ear. Each ear was given a different sound to listen to at the same time, and both sides received a different message. Headphones

For example, one ear would hear a male voice saying something like “The sky is blue” while the other would get maybe a female voice saying “I like bacon”. Note that I just randomly made up those two phrases. I’m actually pretty sure the real experiment consisted of something different.

Anyway, the subject was asked to completely focus on one ear only and disregard the other.

And the result was that all subjects had little, if any, recollection of what was said in the ear that they weren’t supposed to listen to. In fact, pretty much nobody even noticed if the opposite ear had changed genders, languages, or even if the message was all of a sudden switched to be played in reverse.

This lends credibility to Broadbent’s original theory, which was that, there was indeed a bottleneck immediately after perceiving information from the senses. The subjects certainly heard what the other ear was saying, but they don’t remember it at all. Meaning that the brain had taken a look over the ‘less-valuable’ data and decided to skip it or ‘block it’ if you will.

So that’s all fine and dandy. And it might even be interesting to you, but “…what does it matter to me in the real world?” you ask.

The WorldPractical Application(s)

Simple, the take-home message is this. That you can’t multi-task!

The implications of this are actually pretty wide-ranging.

Think about it for a second. How many times have you filled a job application or interviewed with a company where one of the job requirements was:

“…an ability to multi-task efficiently…“?

Well, that’s a false notion, and it’s one that more and more companies and people in general are starting to realize is nothing more than a circus style hurdle that employers use to supposedly find the best candidate. When in reality, all they’ve managed to do is to eliminate the guy who’s being honest during the interview vs. the guy who has a particular knack for lying in a convincing manner.

The end-result is always the same, people can’t multi-task. And making this one of the job requirements only leads to the very plausible outcome that you, as an employer, will end up with sociopath liar who managed to trick HR into thinking that he’s the one for the job. Job Interview

Come a few weeks or months later he’s probably going to be let go or will simply sit there at work not really contributing in a significant manner. While the ten other candidates that you passed on could’ve easily out-performed this guy.

Anyway, this post is starting to get rather long-winded now, and I don’t want to exhaust your attention (no pun intended). So I’ll end it here.

Lastly, as always, thank you very much for reading this and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have writing it. Please remember to comment, like, follow, subscribe, up-vote, and share with all your friends and family.

 

Until next time,

TW1

 

 

 

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New Video!

Wolfpack,

Another new video has been uploaded.

This one is a video of the popular Multi-player Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, DOTA 2. It’s one of my favorite games to play, and I’ve been at it for a little while now, but until recently I didn’t want to make a video out of it as there’s a plethora of similar content already.

But, that changed earlier this week when I played possibly the most hilariously entertaining round of DOTA ever!

Basically, there was a “noob“, if you will, on the opposing team who just failed so epically the entire time that it made me almost unable to play the game because of sheer laughter. Anyway, after the round was over I realized that if I thought this was funny, chances are, someone else will too. So with that reasoning in mind, I decided to make a compilation of all the times this guy got “ganked” (DOTA speak for getting killed in-game) along with a rather humorous commentary in text-form that satirizes what might’ve been going through his head at the time.

Anyway, here’s the link:

Please check it out when you get the chance as I’m sure it’ll likely brighten up your day a little.

 

Until next time,

TW1

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com Writing Sample

Wolfpack,

Just recently I’ve decided to begin looking for work on freelancer.com. It’s a freelancer website (obviously) where you can signup and market yourself to potential employers and just about anybody who needs something done.

The range of services you can offer/find range quite wide. Pretty much everything from writing/blogging, web development/design, graphic design, video editing, SEO marketing, etc. The list just goes on.

Anyway, the reason why I’m telling you this right now is because earlier this morning, I submitted a bid on a project that interested me. And part of the bid proposal was that a mandatory writing sample be included in your application.

The topic was: Apartment

 

“…You are just starting to search your first apartment. The blog should be about your experience while searching and finally getting. You are about to graduate from college and are moving to a new city. Or you may have been living with two older roommates (a/k/a your parents!) for a while, and have finally saved enough to leave the nest...”

 

Which I found to be interesting because I am a recent grad who is in a similar situation and can relate.

Also, here is my response/sample:

 

“…As a recent graduate, you may find yourself in quite an interesting situation. You have been offered a ‘good’ job, but will need to relocate!

The thought of moving to a new city in which you have only a minimal understanding of the local culture and infrastructure can be intimidating to even the most ambitious young professionals.

So how do you do it? How do you find the “right” place to live?

The answer is actually surprisingly easy!

Take a quick visit there prior to your arranged start date, and explore the place. Walk around, take in the sights, sounds, and smells. Get a feel for the kind of people who will be your neighbors soon. Ask around to anyone who’s willing to offer some advice. You’d be surprised how many people would gladly share their opinion.

Maybe it’s the hotel receptionist that you checked in with, or the server at your first restaurant. Even a bartender at the designated alumni bar of your of college can help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to strangers.

Once you’ve accomplished this, you should have at least gotten your compass oriented in the right direction. And after that it’s just a matter of doing the proper research to find a place within your budget.

Good luck!…”

 

I realize it’s a little short, but that was the client’s request. Also, it’s not quite as polished as I’d hoped to be, but come on! Cut me some slack here guys, I literally just woke up, checked the website, saw this, and wrote it all off the top of my head with minimal editing.

So long story, short I hope get an offer from the client.

Lastly, here are the links to both freelancer.com and the exact project description/proposal:

  1. http://www.freelancer.com/
  2. https://www.freelancer.com/projects/Articles-Data-Entry/Content-Writing.5856121.html

And, as always, I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Please remember that if liked what you saw then please comment, like, follow, up-vote, subscribe, and share with all your friends and family.

Until next time,

TW1

 

Let’s Play Arma 3

Wolfpack,

So I just put up a new video on my Youtube channel.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to take the channel into a new direction because of the old videos just simply weren’t getting enough views.

This new video is just a quick “Let’s Play” of ARMA 3, an ultra-realistic military shooter simulation game that I think is essential for everyone who’s a military buff. Quite frankly, it doesn’t get more realistic then this in a video game.

Anyway, when you get the chance please check it out!

Until next time,

TW1

 

P.S. Here’s the link:

IMPORTANT! UPDATE!

Wolfpack,

It is with great regret that I must inform you that the Digital History blog is about to undergo some massive changes.

Specifically, I am going to shift the content of my videos away from the epic battle scenes using Total War machinima. The reason why is because it has come to my attention that the Youtube channel, as it currently stands, just simply isn’t getting enough views.

When I began this channel, one of my express goals was for it to go ‘viral’ or at the very least to gain at least 1,000 views on a video.

So far, this has not happened and it does not appear likely that this will ever be the case.

As such, I’ve decided to temporarily take a step back and re-evaluate the direction of my channel.

This will obviously take some time and as of the time of this writing I have no idea exactly how long this might take. However, please note that I am most certainly NOT discontinuing the channel. I am merely changing it to focus on a different subject altogether in an effort to evolve and adapt over some challenges that I did not see coming.

With that said, I thank you all for very much for your support and views and respectfully request that you keep me mind for the future.

Until next time,

TW1

6 Things Nobody Tells You About Working at a Bar

Wolfpack,

Today I want to write another post about working at a bar. This is going to be a list of the things I learned, that I totally didn’t expect to, while working at a bar. Please note that this list will most accurately reflect on college/party bars, as that is the extent of my experience of working in the bar industry. So without any further delays let’s start with:

1) (Sober) People Argue About the Dumbest Things Ever! Stupid

Everyone knows that the service industry’s number 1 challenge is going to be “dealing with people”. As broad and encompassing as that phrase is, I never expected to have to deal with customers in ways that absolutely defy logic. For example, on my first weekend (I think it may have even been my very first night even) I had to reject a few underage kids who tried to get in through my door. Now, this wasn’t anything unexpected at all. I mean, seriously, who hasn’t used a fake ID their Freshman year of college, or at least known someone who has? But what was unexpected was the incessant arguing from these kids after they were caught red-handed.

Instead of taking off running for fear of having the cops called on them, which is what I was taught to do should I ever choose to use a fake, these kids decided that it would actually make more sense for them to pull out their real IDs and then try to get in anyway!

I didn’t know if I was supposed to laugh or pity their stupidity. Now mind you, this was early in the night and my little would-be bar patrons were clearly not drunk yet at all. And yet they seemed to have lost just as much rational thinking capability as if they were hammered!

So after politely informing them that I had no choice but to deny them entrance, but would not confiscate their ILLEGAL IDs nor turn them over to the authorities, these kids continued to argue by rambling on about the law and how, legally speaking, my bar was obligated to serve them still otherwise that would be considered discrimination.

What!? At this point I was thinking to myself

“OK kid, you got caught with a fake ID, alright? Face it, you’re not getting in, and if you keep on fighting this you’re only going to get yourself in more trouble. All it takes is for a patrolling bike cop to wander on by and catch a brief glimpse of this retardation going on here, and you’d be off to spend a night in the drunk tank…while you’re sober!”

And as if Fate was watching herself, one of the undercover cops who frequents my bar came up right behind me and proceeded to arrest all four of them on the spot! It was all I could do, not to roll over laughing. Lesson learned…I hope. Also, just FYI a bar is definitely NOT obligated to serve, or grant entrance, to ANYONE. Fake ID

2) Fights Don’t Really Break Out That Much Fight

On the contrary, they actually don’t happen that much at all. I mean come on, what’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions a crowded, loud, party bar in college. Well besides the excess of body fluids on the floor and some drunken debauchery, it’s fights! Everyone thinks that being a “Bouncer” means that you can expect to have to show up to work ready for a few hours of a constant boxing match with a horde of Frat bros and townies.

False!

In reality, I had only one real fight break out during my tenure at my bar, and this was actually pretty typical of all the bars in the bar district of my college.

You may be wondering how this is so, and the best answer I’ve thought of is simply Common Sense! Think about it for a second, if a bar constantly had fights breaking out, left and right, at the drop of a hat then wouldn’t that bar likely be shutdown?

See, here’s the way it works with the cops. If you cause a lot of trouble, or your bar is always having issues of some kind (and fights counts as issues) then the cops start getting annoyed with you. And when they get annoyed, they’ll use their uber-charged powers of being a buzzkill to either shutdown you’re bar, suspend your license, or simply employ the cheapass’s tactic of using passive-aggressive attacks to eventually get you to lose all your business.

For example, let’s say that they can’t shut you down, revoke your liquor license, or employ other legal means of getting rid of you. Well, that still doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, because what they can do is simply camp right outside of your bar and aggressively arrest those dangerous drunken college kids hoping to get some late-night pizza/mexican food.

This will eventually garner your bar a negative reputation and lead to people simply not going to your bar. Alternatively, the police can also make frequent visits into your bar while in uniform, and thus scare all the underage kids away.

This tactic works similarly to dog training in the sense that you can train your dog to crap all over a cop’s shoes every time they see a blue uniform (note this is not a recommended method of dog training). Likewise, if the cops make a show of force enough times to your bar, it’ll be like they’re training your patrons to start not going there. See how it works now in regards to common sense?

Woof!

Woof!

3) You Will Probably Lose Some of Your Friends

So you’ve gotten a job at one of the better bars in town. And now all your friends think they totally have someone that can get them in and get them free drinks. Newsflash! That’s wrong as well. Drinks

From the outside looking in, it looks like all the bar employees can totally just drink for free there, and that they can also give anyone free drinks or simply vouch for their friends and get rid of that whole pesky idea of showing ID or paying cover even. Too bad that doesn’t really happen, because most bar owners treat their businesses just like that, a business.

That place that you like to go party at is their livelihood and career all wrapped up into one little package. Most bar owners lives’ practically revolve around their bars, and you can be sure that they won’t just simply take a loss in revenue because so and so wanted to be nice to their friends. If they had that habit, they probably would’ve gone out of business long before you and your friends first got accepted into college even.

And here’s where the tension comes, because when everybody and their brother who sort of, kind of knows you, wants you to hook ’em up or let them in without an ID, you have to say “NO”!

Which then leads to the next part, which is where you get a whole lot of people not talking to you all of a sudden, on account of you “…taking your damn job too seriously”. If it makes you feel better, treat it like it’s a case of micro-evolution going on in your pool of friends. You introduced a new variable and the ones that survived have become stronger, faster, and smarter. Sort of. Evolution

4) Clean-up Duty is Actually the Easiest Part of the Job

I know that a while back, I told a funny story about cleaning the bathrooms at a bar. Well, what I forgot to mention is that even though the bathrooms are sometimes bio-hazardous environments, clean-up duty is still likely to be the easiest part of your job while working at a bar.

That’s because it’s one of the few responsibilities where you get some peace and quiet. Usually you’ll be sent off to whatever corner of the bar you’re assigned to by yourself or with maybe one or two other co-workers; where you’ll then get to quietly enjoy a simple, static task that’s predictable. You don’t have to worry about whether or not the floors, mops, tables, etc. will ever mouth back to you over something stupid (see #1 above), and that’s a HUGE relief.

Plus, after a long night of loud, hectic music and having to constantly move around there’s just something oddly soothing and relaxing about being able to drone out with a pair of headphones on while mopping the floors.

Peace

It’s…finally…over…

5) The Law is Both On Your Side and Against You Law

This one is rather difficult to explain, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Sometimes things happen at work in which you may have no choice but to request police assistance. This most commonly happens when trying to remove a group of drunkards who are just refusing to leave. Now, as I mentioned earlier fights don’t really break out often, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be plenty of instances where you might have to get a little physical with somebody.

In fact, a lot of times we found ourselves having to either call the cops or issue the threat of calling them just to get a guy to leave. Obviously, when this happens we always show our gratitude by offering them a drink on the house next time they come in off-duty.

But…

On the other side of spectrum you have the under-covers. These are the guys who’s jobs it was to catch those dangerous underage drinking criminals by blending in with the rest of the crowd and posing as just another guy at the bar. They are not above using tactics such as going up to an underage girl and offering to buy her a drink, then arresting her in front of the entire bar the second she takes a sip; this happened even if the girl initially refused a drink but the under-cover kept on pushing it (in a really creepy way too), which is arguably a case of entrapment almost.

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, the under-covers would sometimes attempt to bust US, the bar and its employees, as much as they did the Freshmen.

That sleezy tactic I just told you about, well it gets worse. Because when they do it us it usually takes a tag team of two or more under-covers targeting either one bar or sometimes even one bartender specifically. I can say, with complete confidence, that I distinctly remember them sending in an underage under-cover with a fake ID. That was actually a REAL ID issued from the D.P.S. itself, just with falsified information, and order a drink only to have his partner, who ‘witnessed’ the whole thing,  ticket the bartender who had now broken the law and aided and abetted a criminal…RIDICULOUS!

Police

Seriously!?

 

6) You WILL Get Lower Back Problems

Yes, that’s right. It happens. You may think that the bar industry isn’t the most labor-intensive of occupations, and while I actually agree with you on that sentiment, you’d be wrong to think it doesn’t put strain and stress on your body in ways that it wasn’t meant to handle for a prolonged period of time.

The reason why this happens is because of glassware more than anything else. When glasses get dirty at a bar, there’s a simple and convenient way to wash them. It involves this process right here:

but the issue that comes up with doing that over and over again is that you are constantly bending over in an awkward and rather uncomfortable position. Do this for long enough, like over the course of 8+ hours and you’re lower back will definitely start to ache. Do more than a few shifts like that, and you’ll seriously wish that management would just switch over to plastic already.

It’s not just washing glasses either, anytime you’re on the other side of the bar everything is designed to be just in reach of you. If you lean over. Need ice? Bend over. Customer asked for a well drink? Bend over again. What about just a simple Coors Light? Too bad it’s in the ice well, so you know the drill by now.

Please note that this last one obviously does not apply to the security staff/bouncers/door guys/floor. They don’t work behind the bar. Lower Back Problems

Bottom line is guys, be prepared to tackle on a set of challenges that you might have anticipated prior to taking the job.

Anyway, as always, I have you guys have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

And please remember that if you liked what you saw, then please comment, like, subscribe, follow, up-vote, and share with all your friends and family.

Until next time!

TW1

 

Disclaimer: The content within this article has been recounted to the best of my memory. I make no claim to 100% factual accuracy. Any and all discrepancies are the result of unintentional mistakes.

End-note: I realize that some bar industry veterans may have quite a different experience then mine. I present this article only from the standpoint of my own personal experiences. If yours differ or if you have relevant insight I encourage you to share them in the comments below.

First Set of Links

Wolfpack,

Here are my first 3 articles posted on The Daily Planner. Please check them out if you have the chance to.

And as always, please remember to like, comment, follow, subscribe, up-vote, and share with all your friends and family if you enjoyed what you saw!

Until next time,

TW1

  1. http://blog.checkli.com/the-1-reason-why-you-should-use-a-checklist/

Checklist

  1. http://blog.checkli.com/3-ways-to-improve-your-productivity/

Jobs' Quote

  1. http://blog.checkli.com/forgetfulness-a-brief-explanation-of-how-memory-works/

Memory