Attention span refers to the particular length of time someone can concentrate on attending to a single specific task without becoming distracted. The cultural relevance of the term becomes readily apparent when one considers that human behavioral patterns related to media consumption and interpersonal interactions appear to have changed dramatically in the years since the introduction of the iPhone, the first commercially successful smartphone, in 2007.

While experts disagree on whether and to what extent the always-on culture has altered the attention span of the average person, scholars are nevertheless keenly interested in the interplay between media and the human attention span. This entry describes contemporary neuropsychological understandings of the nature of attention, attention-related disorders and challenges, and examples of ways in which mass media may ...

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