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Attentional Rubbernecking

  • How To Remain Focused?

    In driving and other aspects of our lives, we need to stay focused. But keeping focus can be difficult. We seem to have limited resources to maintain our full attention on something. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that can help us concentrate and stay focused on something.

    Avoid multitasking

    One of the biggest enemies of focus is multitasking. While it may be tempting to feel that we are getting a lot of stuff accomplished at once, in reality multitasking affects our capacity to focus and makes us much less productive. When we believe we are doing things at the same time, we are in reality quickly switching between our tasks, which means that we are much less productive. It’s better to focus on one thing and then on another, as well as to remember that when we multitask, we are not truly focused on anything.

    FocusTrain your mind

    The ability to focus can be trained. When we make the effort to practice focus, it becomes easier for us to stay focused for longer.  Training focus can mean simply trying to keep focus for short periods of time. For example, start by trying to maintain focus on your breathing or your tasks for five minutes to start. Then, increase the time as it becomes easier.

    Focus on the process

    Something that can help us focus more intently is to put the focus on the process rather than on the result. If we are focused on the result, we can get more distracted and tend to be less productive. Focusing on the process can help us stay concentrated on what we are doing now rather than on distractions.

    Minimize distractions

    Sometimes, the easiest way to focus is to minimize distractions. We can turn off the smartphone, lower the volume on the music, eat before starting work to avoid hunger as a distraction, and so on. Sometimes, minimizing distractions can be a useful strategy to help us focus.

  • What is rubbernecking?



    Quite some time since we last wrote. People have been asking what rubbernecking is so I thought perhaps we should explain here. Rubbernecking is the term used to refer to people craning their neck to peek at something of interest and has been linked with mostly morbid curiosity. Rubbernecking becomes a concern on the road and usually refers to drivers peeking at car accidents or problems at the road. The drivers will pass something and crane their necks to see it, expressing morbid curiosity often minutes after chiding others for doing the same. While this curiosity is a part of human nature, it is not as innocuous as it seems.

    On the road, 16% of all distraction-related accidents are related to rubbernecking. This means that rubbernecking can lead to accidents with some frequency. Rubbernecking also slows down traffic and can affect traffic. Overall, rubbernecking can be a problem for the driver or other drivers.
    Despite the fact that rubbernecking can be an issue, most people still engage in it from time to time. Why? One explanation is that people are just curious by nature. When we see something has happened, we feel the compulsion to check it out and evaluate whether it is a threat to us, for instance. While morbid curiosity is not always useful, our first instinct is usually to get a sense for what’s going on, which can result in rubbernecking, even if we had just been criticizing others for doing the same.

    Some situations will allow us to get away with rubbernecking, but others can lead to serious problems for ourselves or others. Overall, it’s best to keep our focus and be aware of the possible consequences of rubbernecking. If we feel the urge to do this while driving, we need to be careful and mind our safety. While not looking out through the window can be dissatisfying, having an accident can lead to more serious consequences, so we need to be careful when indulging our curiosity.



    Lee, L. (2004). 100 most dangerous things in everyday life and what you can do about them (1st ed.). Sydney: Murdoch Books.

  • What is ‘rubbernecking’?

    mobile-logoIn a recent scientific study, researchers were able to discover a newly named brain phenomenon. This phenomenon was termed as ‘attentional rubbernecking,’ or ‘rubbernecking’ for short.

    “Attentional rubbernecking” is what happens when our eyes see an erotic, violent image, or any other picture of shocking nature. Then after seeing such images, our brains cannot seem to process the full information of that image. Often our brains cannot process what our eyes are seeing, and then we have trouble anticipating what will come after that image because our brains have been confused by a shocking picture.

    To test this phenomenon, the researchers asked a group of research participants to view a series of images. They discovered that research subjects had a harder time detecting an image if it provoked a strong emotional response. Subjects have a harder time identifying the visual cues of an image that had erotic or violent content. The researchers compared this to research subjects viewing more neutral images. On average, there was a significant increase in the amount of time it took to identify images of violent content. Research subjects often took a few more seconds identifying photos with significant emotional content, as opposed to neutral photographs. It took an extra few seconds for their brains to process what their eyes were seeing.

    The results of the effect were what motivated scientists to call this effect “attentional rubbernecking.” This is because the effect of being distracted by violent or erotic photos is very similar to the effect of seeing a car accident on a dacadoo_icon_size1500pxhighway. Seeing a car wreck on a highway, and then stopping to view it, is called rubbernecking. You may not want to see the accident, or in this case photos, but your emotions force you to view them and then distract you for a few seconds too.

    In a more detail review of the test, research subjects were asked to find a specific picture among a pile of other pictures, which featured buildings and nature landscapes. In between those neutral pictures, were placed images that depicted some violence or erotic content. The researchers discovered that subjects had a harder time searching for a specific picture when they came across any of these erotic or violent images. The closer that these kinds of photos were placed on the specific images that they were supposed to find, the longer it took them to find their goal pictures. The length of time of distraction was then same for both erotic and violent images.

    Researchers have stated while there are no immediately identifiable impacts of these on attention span and visual processing, this ”attentional rubbernecking” effect could have negative consequences for us. This “attentional rubbernecking” effect also cannot be controlled, scientists suspect. Our brains and its chemistry are simply built to process visual information and attention this way.

    The scientists compared this effect to have a bottleneck for the amount of information our brains can process. We can only process so much information at one time. And if one piece of visual information is more jarring than others, such as a violent or erotic image, then that bottleneck of information is essentially clogged up, and our attention spans stall. This stalling of the attention span could be affected by a huge number of factors, and not just violent or erotic imagery. We could become distracted by a huge number of upsetting factors.

    In the real world, this “attentional rubbernecking” effect could negatively impact our performance at work or when we health-1are simply driving. A sexually explicit or lewd advertisement could stick in our mind more, and we end up being tricked into not paying attention to our surroundings.