UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 23rd March: Gloria Mark, Our Devices, the Shortening of Attention Spans, and Stress
Gloria Mark, University of California, Irvine
Location: On Zoom


UCLIC Research Seminar 23rd March: Gloria Mark, Our Devices, the Shortening of Attention Spans, and Stress


We spend much of our waking hours using a computer device. To understand how it affects our lives, I argue we need to create a holistic picture of our relationship with technology in the wild. To do this, we use precision tracking of behavior with sensors, logging, and other methods. In this talk I will present research from years of tracking attention on devices showing how attention spans on screens are declining. I will also show how stress is associated with dynamic attention shifting, interruptions, and email use. We also find that people exhibit rhythms of different attentional states as they use their devices. There is a paradox in that people want to focus, don't want to experience stress, yet have a hard time reducing their time on their devices. I will describe an intervention study to block distractions and will describe how it led to a new understanding about self-control. I will also discuss the future of studying attention on our devices.

Relevant Publications
Bored Mondays and Focused Afternoons : https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Focus20Camera-Ready20Final.pdf

Effects of Individual Differences in Blocking Workplace Distractions : https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/3173574.3173666


Gloria Mark is Chancellor's Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD from Columbia University in psychology. She has been a visiting senior researcher at Microsoft Research since 2012. Her primary research interest is in understanding the impact of digital media on people's lives. Her goal is to create a holistic picture of people's multitasking, mood and behavior as they use digital media in real world environments using sensors and other methods. She is also interested in the future of work, and how teams adapt to remote work environments. She has published over 200 articles and is author of the book Multitasking in the Digital Age. She was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy in 2017 and has been a Fulbright Scholar. Her work has been recognized outside of academia: she has been invited to present her work at SXSW and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and her work on multitasking has appeared in the popular media, e.g. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Atlantic, the BBC, and many others. She is currently working on a book on our attention spans while using our devices, to be published by HarperCollins.