21 Nov
20:00 - 20:30
Studium Generale | Lecture

Concentration: Staying Focused in Times of Distraction

We are in the midst of an attention crisis - caused largely by our smartphones. There is a constant stream of information that we are powerless to withstand because it shows up in our notifications. More and more of us are finding it increasingly hard to concentrate.

Van der Stigchel explains how concentration works and offers advice on how to stay focused in a world of beeping smartphones, channel surfing, live-tweeting, pop-up ads and other distractions. The good news, he reports, is that we now know more about brain and behaviour than ever before, and he can draw on the latest scientific findings in his account of concentration. He explains, among other things, that the battle for our attention began long before the digital era; why our phones are so addictive; the importance of working memory (responsible for executing complicated tasks) and how to increase its capacity; and why multitasking is bad for our concentration, but attention rituals help it. He explains the positive effects of taking “tech breaks” (particularly in natural surroundings), meditation, and even daydreaming. We can win the battle for our attention, Van der Stigchel argues, if we have the knowledge and the tools to do it.

This lecture is part of the Wellbeing Week, a week full of activities promoting the physical and mental health at Maastricht University from 17 to 22 November organised by the Wellbeing Movement. Midway October you will find the complete programme here.