Hyper Attention

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Deep vs. hyper attention, from Katherina Hayles:

"The shift in cognitive styles can be seen in the contrast between deep attention and hyper attention. Deep attention, the cognitive style traditionally associated with the humanities, is characterized by concentrating on a single object for long periods (say, a novel by Dickens), ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times. Hyper attention, by contrast, is characterized by switching focus rapidly between different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom. The contrast in the two cognitive modes may be captured in an image: picture a college sophomore, deep in Pride and Prejudice with her legs draped over an easy chair, oblivious to her ten-year-old brother sitting in front of a console, jamming on a joystick while he plays Grand Theft Auto. Each cognitive mode has advantages and limitations. Deep attention is superb for solving complex problems represented in a single medium, but it comes at the price of environmental alertness and flexibility of response. Hyper attention excels at negotiating rapidly changing environments in which multiple foci compete for attention; its disadvantage is impatience with focusing for long periods on a non-interactive object such as a Victorian novel or complicated math problem." (http://media08.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/my-article-on-hyper-and-deep-attention/)

More Information

  1. Attention