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Blog > The Jeff Ward Show > Being interrupted for just 60 seconds while concentrating can completely wipe your short-term memory

Being interrupted for just 60 seconds while concentrating can completely wipe your short-term memory

Being interrupted is so bad for your concentration that even a one minute distraction is enough to completely wipe your short term memory.

A study has found that if you are bothered for 60 seconds while trying to focus on something then you will have to start afresh because you can’t recall what you were doing.

The researchers said that their findings should be a warning to anyone with a smartphone as users check the devices around 125 times a day.



People who joke about having the memory of a goldfish may have to think again, after scientists have found fish can remember events for up to a fortnight.

Canadian researchers trained fish to locate food before removing them from the tank for 12 days.

When the fish were later reintroduced, motion-tracking software revealed they could identify the precise location of the food.

The study looked at African Cichlids, a popular aquarium species which has previously been shown to demonstrate complex behaviours, including aggression.

Working on the assumption they could be capable of advanced memory tasks, each fish was trained to enter a particular zone of an aquarium to be fed, with each training session lasting twenty minutes.

After three days, the fish were given a 12-day rest period.

They were later reintroduced into their training arena, and their movements recorded with motion-tracking software.

And the software revealed the fish returned to the spot where it found food.

It shows that humans are more similar to goldfish than they might think as the animals have a memory that lasts just three seconds.

The US researchers asked test participants to outline an answer to an exam and then write their response under three conditions.

Firstly they had to write uninterrupted, secondly they were disrupted three times whilst writing the outline and thirdly they were interrupted three times whilst writing the answer.

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