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Scientists Reveal the Number of Times You're Actually Conscious Each Minute

Taking advantage

Every four times a second, our brains are open to stimuli outside our initial focus.

If there's something very bright or blinking at that time, you will shift your attention. Advertisers take advantage of this. For example, when you're on the internet and ads are popping up.

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Scientists Reveal the Number of Times You're Actually Conscious Each Minute

Scientists Reveal the Number of Times You're Actually Conscious Each Minute

https://www.inverse.com/article/48300-why-is-it-hard-to-focus-research-humans

inverse.com

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Key Ideas

Our attention systems

According to scientists at Princeton University, the brain oscillates in and out of focus four times every second.

That means the brain stops focusing on the task at hand about 240 times a minute.

Rhythms of attention

The brain is distractible. We focus in bursts with periods of distractibility in between those bursts, where the brain seems to look at the rest of the environment outside to see if there's something important going on elsewhere.

This rhythm affects our behavior all the time.

Understanding rhythms of attention

At any given moment, our brain focuses on a single point of interest. Like a filmstrip, the brain takes pictures of these moments, then assembles them into a cohesive story.

About four times every second, the brain stops taking snapshots of individual points of focus and collects background information about the environment, like sound, people, temperature, and so on. It then uses all the information to put together a narrative of the complete experience.

Modern society

Modern life insists that we perform all sorts of hyper-focused tasks that overburdens our distractible brains.

Consider driving and drinking coffee while you're on the phone. It means that you're continually switching attention that could cause an accident.

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