Generation Y & Z = Goldfish?

A goldfish; a copyright under the public domain.

I found an interesting news article which was about a goldfish. According to Hipsley (2008), it is widely known that “there is a popular belief that goldfish only have a three-second memory span and every lap of their fishbowl is like seeing the world for the first time”. Besides, a report published by Microsoft Canada (2015) indicates that the average human attention span is eight seconds while the average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds.

The reason why I mentioned goldfish’s memory capacity is that I want to discuss one’s attention capacity. These days many people are using smartphone especially among those who were born between 1980 and later than that, who are so-called Generation Y and Z. Besides, smartphone and other electronic devices notifies endless notifications in real time. This can be one of reasons why we are not able to concentrate on a specific task. Metaphorically, Generation Y and Z are similar to goldfish in terms of attention capacity. According to this situation, getting-things-done (GTD) is becoming popular among those who want to increase their productivity. For instance, they listen to music for getting things done that is also known as concentration/focus music.

In order to do a Week 9’s assignment, I asked my girlfriend whether I could examine her attention capacity. And she agreed with my request, and she agreed with publishing examination results on my WordPress blog as well. Prior to the examination, I had designed a short task that would examine her attention capacity: I asked her to read an online article for ten minutes. And while she was reading the article, I examined her attention capacity. During the examination, I found out an interesting fact that she was not able to fully concentrate on reading the online article because of instant messenger/SNS (Facebook) notifications on her smartphone. After being alerted to the notifications, she opened an instant messenger/Facebook application, and she replied to her messenger/SNS friends. This is in contradiction to my attention capacity, as I can fully concentrate on a specific task.


According to the report published by Microsoft Canada (2015), this report argues that “social media can drain one’s resources, reducing the ability to allocate attention, connect with content on an emotional level, and process information”. It can be defined that this is somewhat similar to the result of the examination. It is known that mankind has higher intelligence than other creatures, however can it be justified that mankind is somewhat similar to a goldfish?


Hipsley, A 2008, ‘Goldfish three-second memory myth busted’, ABC News, 19 February, viewed 28 September, <>.

Microsoft Canada 2015, Attention spans Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada, viewed 28 September 2016, <>.


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