Technology impacts the attention span of people. To determine just how much, Solitaire Bliss ran a study and published the findings this week, revealing interesting insights into human behavior on smartphones.
Has your mom, even as an adult, told you to put your smartphone away while at the dinner table? Solitaire Bliss surveyed about 2,055 people in the United States between January 16 and January 20, 2023 to determine the extent of the distraction. Brands see smartphones as a lifeline, while others see them as a distraction.
Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 76 years of age and were about 52% female, 46% male, and 2% nonbinary. States not included due to lack of data include Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.
Residents of each U.S. state were asked a series of nine questions and used the answers to establish an average attention score for that state. With the nine questions each worth up to four points, the data found that people in the U.S. have an average attention span of 17 out of 36.
People in California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have the shortest attention span. When segmenting people by generation, Gen Z have the shortest attention span compared with millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.
Californians -- with a score of 19.4 out of 36 -- answered most of the questions with a “frequently” rating, making it the state with the shortest attention span.
Pennsylvania follows with a rating of 18.7, tied with Illinois, which also has a rating of 18.7. The states with the highest attention spans are New Mexico with a rating of 14.7, West Virginia at 15.0, and Wisconsin at 15.4.
When segmenting people by generation, Gen Z was found to have the shortest attention span compared with millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.
Phones also prove to be a distraction while watching television, with 92% of U.S. residents reporting that they use their phones while watching TV. Women outnumber men -- 94% reach for their phones at least sometimes while watching TV compared with 89% of men.
Residents in Minnesota, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington are the top five states where residents are distracted the most while watching TV.
Of the 90% of U.S. residents who are sometimes distracted by phones when talking to family or friends, Gen Z are affected most, with 94 saying they are distracted by their phones while talking to family or friends.
Overall, 41% of all respondents say they look down at their phones as they cross a street, Women use their phones while watching TV more than men, and 80% of women and men in North America bring their phone to the toilet at least sometimes.
Residents in Connecticut, Texas, Indiana, Alabama, and Utah are the top five states where people bring their phones to the toilet, according to the survey.