The upside of a short attention span

A child’s inability to focus long enough to put their shoes on or hang up their coat can be deeply frustrating for parents, but

this wandering attention is an important part of the learning process — one that helps them make sense of an uncertain environment,”

writes Rachel Fairbank in Lifehacker. In a recent study, a group of adults and a group of 4- and 5-year-olds played a computer game in which they had to distinguish between two types of creatures. Halfway through the game,

the feature that differentiated these two creatures changed without the participants being told that the rules changed,”

writes Fairbank. The adults, who focused on the game more intently, took longer than their preschool counterparts to catch onto the unannounced change.

“Having an attention span that wanders all over the place helps them notice all sorts of details”

that help children operate in an unfamiliar world. [Lifehacker]

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