The Importance Of Distractibility

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Distractibility is the quality of being liable to distraction, being unable to concentrate or to produce sustained attention. Distractibility refers to how easily, or not so easily, things going on around us disrupt our thought processes and attention. Some people are highly distractible, noticing every sight and sound around them; therefore it is not surprising that some people struggle daily to focus on a certain task. When working on a task, they are often side-tracked and have a difficult time paying attention. Distraction can impair productivity and increase the risk of accidents (Wallace and Vodanovich, 2003). In fact, most of us experience it. When we are reading a book, 20 to 40 percent of the time our mind is wandering anywhere while…show more content…
Our brain is spilt into two systems, the automatic system and the reflective system (Daniel Kahneman, 2003). Automatic system is involuntary and precise, therefore we need not to be conscious in order to perform the actions involving automatic system. On the other hand, reflective system runs the voluntary parts in our brain. It processes suggestions offered by the automatic system, then makes final decisions and chooses where to allocate our attention. The reflective system is usually in charge of anything that takes willpower and self-control. The system deals with sensory distraction (things happening around you) and emotional distractions (your inner dialogue, thoughts about things happening in your life) (Daniel Goleman, 2013). It runs our concentration and when we are exposed to many distractions, the reflective system is the part in our brain that has to fight against it, and sometimes it takes a lot of effort. If top-down control fails to break the dormancy of bottom-up mechanism, the bottom-up mechanism will continue to dominate the brain system and eventually leads to distractibility and difficulty in maintaining attention on the relevant task (Timothy J.B, Earl K. Miller, 2007). However, it depends on our cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is described as the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts…show more content…
A group of healthy volunteers will be recruited to participate in this research. They are asked to fill in a questionnaire form, which will be used to assess their distractibility in daily life. The Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ) (Broadbent et al., 1982) requires the participants to rate the frequency of them experiencing 25 minor cognitive failures in the past 6 months. The CFQ consists of four principal factors, which are distractibility, memory blunders and (memory of) name. The rate of frequency is on a scale of 0 to 4, with 0 indicating never and 4 meaning very often. CFQ generally reflects the distractibility of an individual and its reliability and validity have been established based on previous research. The CFQ scores predict attention performance and provide consistent and reliable estimates of an individual’s ability to suppress task-irrelevant distraction (Forster and Lavie, 2007). Individuals with high CFQ scores have a high degree of distractibility, thus are slow at responding to a target but sometimes they can actually perform better in the absence of

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