How Do Kids and Grown-Ups Get Distracted in Everyday Situations?
The world is a distracting place – full of shapes and colors, sounds, and smells that constantly excite our senses. Sometimes, a single object can stimulate multiple senses at once. When the TV is on, moving images on the screen are accompanied by sounds. But you may have noticed that, as you grow older, you become better at ignoring distractions, and staying focused on what you are doing. Especially if what you are doing is very demanding, like reviewing a Young Minds article. Would you have done as well when you were six? Control over what and how you attend to improves with age, however, adults get distracted too. We found that, surprisingly, adults are worse at ignoring distractions involving both shapes and sounds than six-year-olds. By studying distractions engaging multiple senses, we can better understand how our attention works in everyday situations and how it grows as we grow.