4

According to this picture from Uberfacts:

enter image description here

Our attention spans are less than that of a goldfish.

Did Microsoft actually make this claim? When?

Is there any valid evidence for this claim?

11

Microsoft Canada did some research in the Spring of 2015 which resulted in the following report

Attention spans - Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada

It included this info graphic

enter image description here

The research is quite in-depth, specifying

This study breaks attention into three parts because we don’t think that attention can be simply characterized as how long people can concentrate —different tasks, devices, and lifestyles require different sets of attention types.

Those three parts are

  • Sustained - Maintaining prolonged focus during repetative activity
  • Selective - Maintaining response in the face of distracting or competing stimuli
  • Alternating - Shifting attention between tasks demanding different cognitive skills

The report itself is pretty fascinating, I suggest a read to make up your own mind as to whether this is "evidence".

  • 1
    The infographic is not a result of this research, but is vaguely sourced to Statistic Brain, so the methodology description isn't really relevant. – Oddthinking Jan 13 '16 at 0:34
7

These claims are the end of a long chain of poorly sourced chain.

The Uberfacts meme vaguely attributes the claim to "Microsoft".

Microsoft Canada does make the claim (Huge hat-tip to @JamieC), and vaguely attributes the claim to "Statistic brain"

Statistic Brain does make the claim:

The average attention span in 2015      8.25 seconds
The average attention span in 2000      12 seconds
The average attention span of a gold fish      9 seconds

They vaguely attribute it to "National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, The Associated Press", where the trail runs cold.

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