Hyper/Deep Attention

“Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes,” by N. Katherine Hayles, discusses the differences between deep attention and hyper attention.  Deep attention involves focusing on one subject or object for an extended period of time while being able to avoid outside distractions and/or being in a situation where outside distractions are not in the picture.  Hyper attention involves many different stimuli going on at once and attention going back and forth between different subjects or objects.  An example of deep stimulation would be reading a novel all the way through without stopping during it to check on other things such as different types of media.  An example of hyper attention is doing homework in your apartment while your roommates play video games with music on.  Deep attention is what many people in older generations grew up on and is what they are struggling to let go of.  People in the education system are reluctantly having to change their teaching strategies because students are unable to focus for extended periods of time and therefore there are limited options for teachers, especially in classes such as English in which reading novels has always been a standard assignment.  Hayles discusses that a big reason that younger generations struggle with deep attention is the availability of so many different medias.  With all of the social media apps going on at once, it is hard to stay focused on one thing without checking up on the apps.  So often they do not need to refrain from using them, that when they need to it becomes very difficult.  She mentions that a big reason people are so set on these medias is the connections that they feel with others.  Everyone is always on these apps and communicating with one another about similar topics that it makes everyone feel comfortable as well as entertained.

Chapter 5 talks about writing an argumentative essay.  The text gives information about the format and different guidelines for how the paper should be written.  It also discusses all of the different pieces that should be involved and how important each step is.  For example, the first step in writing your paper is coming up with a thesis statement.  It explains how important the thesis is because without, the reader has no idea what the paper is about, nonetheless which side of the argument you are on.  Then it talks about the introduction and how important it is to make a good first impression which is what makes the introduction so challenging.  Altogether, the chapter is very useful as far as how to write the essay as well as how to remain relaxed and not stressed out with different strategies and ideas throughout the writing process.

I think the Hayles essay was extremely interesting.  I have never heard of deep and hyper attention nor have I ever even thought about the differences between if I ever sit down to read an actual book versus when I am watching tv with my phone in my hand and my friends having conversations and cooking dinner.  I would definitely have to agree that not only do I, as well as most college students and younger people, more often use hyper attention, but I also prefer it.  I will most likely never find myself reading a novel unless I absolutely need to.  I would much rather read something short and quick that would allow me to get back to my phone.  I don’t like that I am this way but it is what it is.  I can barely even finish a whole show without checking my phone.  I, like Hayles mentioned, just enjoy feeling connected to other people at all times and enjoy being on the web.


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