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Insight: Attention
Attention
Season 1  |  Episode 23  |  SBS  |  July 17, 2018
Classification: Not ClassifiedClassification: Not Classified
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If you’ve ever wondered about how long (or short) your attention span is, or perhaps even worried that there’s something seriously wrong with your ability to pay attention – you’re not alone.

Insight guest Leanne became concerned about her attention span when she caught up with an old friend over lunch, but couldn’t stop checking her phone and thinking about what else she could be doing – like scrolling through her Facebook.

At home, she says she gets distracted by something as trivial as a bad smell, or the noise of someone mowing the lawn. It can take her off task and take up her attention for the entire day.

This week on Insight, Leanne’s attention is tested and the findings surprise her.

And guest host Janice Petersen asks the “5 billion dollar question,” as neuroscientist, Associate Professor Paul Dux puts it – can we train, and even increase our attention spans? And how do you do it?

When the stakes are as high as a plane full of people, or a life on the operating table – how can that affect your ability to hold attention, and what can happen if you don’t?

“The worst case is that two aircraft collide and a catastrophic failure in the system occurs,” air traffic controller Tom McRobert says.

For neurosurgeon Nazih Asaad, the consequences can also be fatal and with the trust of the patient in his hands, the potential risks of the surgery can weigh on him in the lead up to the operation.

AFL player for the GWS Giants Heath Shaw was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a teenager. He says some of the behaviours have followed him into adulthood and on the field.

Insight asks – what is attention, and how can it impact your life? How do you know if your attention span is normal? And what makes some people better at paying attention than others?

If you’ve ever wondered about how long (or short) your attention span is, or perhaps even worried that there’s something seriously wrong with your ability to pay attention – you’re not alone.

Insight guest Leanne became concerned about her attention span when she caught up with an old friend over lunch, but couldn’t stop checking her phone and thinking about what else she could be doing – like scrolling through her Facebook.

At home, she says she gets distracted by something as trivial as a bad smell, or the noise of someone mowing the lawn. It can take her off task and take up her attention for the entire day.

This week on Insight, Leanne’s attention is tested and the findings surprise her.

And guest host Janice Petersen asks the “5 billion dollar question,” as neuroscientist, Associate Professor Paul Dux puts it – can we train, and even increase our attention spans? And how do you do it?

When the stakes are as high as a plane full of people, or a life on the operating table – how can that affect your ability to hold attention, and what can happen if you don’t?

“The worst case is that two aircraft collide and a catastrophic failure in the system occurs,” air traffic controller Tom McRobert says.

For neurosurgeon Nazih Asaad, the consequences can also be fatal and with the trust of the patient in his hands, the potential risks of the surgery can weigh on him in the lead up to the operation.

AFL player for the GWS Giants Heath Shaw was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a teenager. He says some of the behaviours have followed him into adulthood and on the field.

Insight asks – what is attention, and how can it impact your life? How do you know if your attention span is normal? And what makes some people better at paying attention than others?

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