Attention Span Self-Assessments - Measure and Test Your Attention Skills

Attention Span Self-Assessments: How to Test & Measure Your Own Attention Span.

The purpose of this Attention Span Self-Assessment section is for you to measure and record how well you operate your Attention, at will, on purpose, in multiple types of Attention-demanding ways. We are only concerned with your enjoying a clear snapshot of your current Attention Skillset, and in measuring your current skill level.

With that insight, you establish a baseline foundation from which to launch into higher levels of attentive focus. This is a completely private, non-judgmental process, and we advise you to give yourself credit for whatever results you discover, because your committment to consistent Attention skills training will change those rookie numbers quickly.

These Attention Assessments are NOT Lab Tests, Will Not Be Graded, and You Will Not Be Judged.

This is not the same as a medical assessment to determine if you have an underlying health condition affecting your Attention. For that, we recommend seeing your medical professional to deal with any illness you may be suffering. You should always ask anyone attempting to assess your Attention if they themselves know anything about how to improve Attention Span naturally, without any chemical assistance.

By this, we mean that you want a medical cure for real medical problems. We do NOT want to line drug company pockets over something that can be taken care of with simple training.

We enthusiastically recommend that you tend to any physical or known neurological problems in the appropriate way, including any tests and assessments your advisors recommend. Just as we advise you to watch them like a hawk and always get a second, far superior opinion that provides an option that does not involve ingesting chemical poisons that don't teach you how to control Attention.

Do You Suspect a Medical Condition Affecting Your Attention? That's No Excuse to Remain Without Attention Skills.

If you are aware of any suffering, then it also means you have the tools you need to being Attention Control Training while you work with your doctor to fix your medical issue, if you have one. If you're receiving this message, you can start training, no excuses, because you still have all the Attention you need, even if you don't feel fit as a fiddle. Now we focus on boosting your skills from Attention Rookie to Attention Professional.

The great news is that you are fully capable of measuring and asssessing your own ability, tendencies, and habits of attention. Just as you are easily able to determine what kinds of weight you can lift and how far you can carry a load, you can take time out to test your ability to:

  1. Take Control - Exert control over attention, at will (or when instructed), whether aimed outward or inward, and involving any of the five senses and imagination (thought). Contol directs attention from target to target, widens and contracts the area of notice, and exerts will effort to maintain attention 'lock-on' when competing signals seek to break that contact.
  2. Keep Control - Maintain control of a single attention signal for extended period of time. Concerns your ability to stay on target and maintain attention target 'lock-on' in the face of any and every form of non-threatening distraction. This signal following can take for form of reading a book without interruption or practiing music or even a calm, medititive stroll in the park, without allowing the mind to drift into daydreams or self-talk.
  3. Adjust Targets & Regain Control - Switch from attention target to attention target at will or upon command, rapidly or slowly, with both the control and endurance to hold each target (or singular task) without being distracted by the others or any other source competing for your attention. People with excellent attention skills are able to work on muliple projects, but they do it one at a time, without allowing self-conflict or conflicting impulses to sabotage their productivity. Target switching means moving from one type of target to an entirely different type, or moving from an internal target to an external one.

A Reason Not to Bother With Assessing Your Attention Span.

If you are intelligent and self-honest enough to know that you are easily distracted, off course, goof off a lot, avoid mundane tasks, and spend too much time chasing fun rather than pursuing your dreams, then don't waste any time trying to 'Assess' what you arleady know. Just go start training. Training will show you EXACTLY how your Attention behaves as well as show you exactly what type of drills to do in order to straighten out the problem.

If you suspect a medical problem, see a doctor, but start training now, regardless. Do NOT take your medical visit and diagnosis as a reason to skip training. Otherwise, you will end up devoid of knowledgeable skill, while being physically healthy, still distracted.

Attention Span Tests: What They Measure.

When measurements are done, what you want to know is how much control, endurance, flexibility, and strength you have when the time comes to use Attention 'on purpose,' 'at will,' and for extended periods if needed. These assessment drills will reveal any issues you have in the following areas:

Control of Attention

Attention control is more than simply perceiving that a sensory signal exists and that you are aware it. Attention control is your conscious effort to perceive a portion of what you see, hear, taste, feel, smell, or think, and bring that more into your notice, to the exclusion of less important, or lower-priority sensations. For example, to visually track the motion of the rotating second hand of an analog clock mounted on a wall, you are forced to control the motion of your eye in order to track the visual signal of the target as it turns. Control is also demonstrated when you hold your eyes stead on a target, refusing to let your vision roam about. You can exert 'Attention Control' using all of your senses and your imagination (thoughts, feelings, inner voice).

Endurance of Attention

Attentional endurance is all about how long you can carry the load of demand on your attention during a task, regardless of whether you find it interesting. Whereas you naturally attend to pleasant sensations with less resistance, your training will be far more productive and your skills will improve more rapidly when your targets don't excite your fancy.

Cultivating endurance produces extraordinary stamina of sustained attention. This quality combines with your growing flexibility and strength so that you can possess the mental skill to summon steady states of attention or concentration for as long as necessary throughout the day, as often as needed without reliance on mood or interest.

Flexibility of Attention

Attentional flexibility guages the ease with which you direct attention from target to target, task to task, and across all five of yoursenses. Mastering attention skills means becoming as effective at listening to a boring lecture as you are at reading an exciting novel. The end goal of flexibility of attention is to be able to instantly take control of attention and direct it to any target or task, one after another, without faltering.

Strength of Attention

Consider the following formula as a way of understanding how to best just the strength of your attention:

C+E+F = S (Control + Endurance + Flexibility = Strength)

There is no official measurement that anybody can honestly proclaim as 'Strength of Attention,' although companies do it, anyway. The strength of your attention is an immeasurable dance of the totality of your control skill and experience.

Tests and assessments don't know if you are a rookie beginner, or whether you've had some training, or whether you're a professional at using Attention.

Strength takes into account the fundamentals of control, endurance, and flexibility. If you have weak control, or flagging endurance, or limited flexibility, it doesn't matter if you're able to sit for six hours to work on a single thing - you will always be forced to wrestle your way through the entire time because skill deficits flawed Attention habits always show their hand, in the way a squeaky wheel turns, but irritatingly. When you have a nice balance of control, endurance, and flexibility, strength takes care of itself through practice.

Reaction Speed

This is, from a practical standpoint, the worst criteria for an Attention Span test. The reason being that a reaction is not the action you take in response to a stimulus.

If they tell you to press a button when a dot appears on a screen, and do NOT press the button otherwise, your reaction time in pressing the button doesn't accurately reveal what your true Attention Span is. It only reveals how bored you get when sitting there waiting on a stupid dot to appear. That reaction speed can be influenced by motivational rewards. Thus, it's not a reliable measure, because you're not sitting around in the classroom or office waiting on edge for a dot to appear. 

The true reaction is nearly instantaneous, and happens when your central nervous system detects the signal. The fact that it takes you longer than others to engage in a physical motion does not mean you have weak attention, but slower 2ndary physical reaction time, which is NOT Attention. That slower reaction time could be for many reasons, like motivation, fatigue, or even intimidation of being watched by some lab tech.

Indeed, some mental training disciplines revolve around using attention to PREVENT 2ndary physical reactions, such as when using mindfulness training drills to teach yourself how to remain calm when anger suddenly rises within you.

Reaction speed is an inferior measure to actual time on task. Even when reaction speed is tied to using working memory (for instance, remaining on standby as you remember you must press a button when next you see a dot on a screen), it does not accurately say whether or not you were paying attention. You may have been, but simulteneously dealing with tense reactions occuring because you're in the middle of an assessment.

Memory Tests

Some Attention Span Tests involve memorization and holding attention targets on the stage of your mind (using working memory) while other events go on, then you're expected to refer back to the previously held information. This is another inferior tool to use as a measure of Attention Span for the purpose of strategic mental training.

Attention, though related to Working Memory and vital for short term and long term memory, it is not memory. Attention is real-time, always, with no reaching back into memory in order to operate, Attention is an Executive Function-guided faculty and only uses imagination (memory) as a tool. 

Memory is imagination, thus, when tests grade your attention corresponding to the difficulty of a memory challenge, the result provides an inaccurate picture of your attention ability. They are better suited for training toward mental focus, visioneering, and goalsetting training objectives when not being used in the lab for research work. 

The Four Causes of Low Attention Span Test Scores.

Other than medical issues that can affect your vision or hearing, thus interfere with your testing ability, there are four main obstacles to perfect mental concentration, something we've referred to as 'THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF MENTAL RESISTANCE,' because if you're having a hard time attending to a target, one or more of them will always be at fault.

  1. Wandering attention (internal distractions) - attention drifting off into thought, self-talk, daydream, or fantasy
  2. Wandering attention (external distractions) - attention captured by outside influences.
  3. Physical distraction such as impulsivity, muscular tension, stressful postures, shallow breathing, itching, hunger, thirst, etc.
  4. Fatigue or exhaustion (not the lazy or merely imagined variety) - due to anything from nutritional neglect to overwork.

How Distracted Are You: Full-Blown Distraction Vs. Unclear Attention

Training to improve attention will involve a good deal of monitoring the quality of effort. For example, there are numerous types of mental exercise drills that fine-tune your attention skills, but using them requires you to take careful notice of the clarity of your attention signal. Are you attending easily without struggle, or are you having to wrestle to hold lock on your attention target? What's interefering - is it thoughts, wandering imagination, self-talk, external noise?

Basically, you find yourself having to grade your performance while you're doing it, and then you need to do so without losing your target. This 'self-observation' effect afforded to you as you intentionally deploy attention becomes easier with practice, allowing you to honestly judge how well you're doing and to make adjustments in your approach if needed. Here is a way to judge the level of distraction as you train your attention:

  1. CLEAR ATTENTION: (Undiluted, uncorrupted, etc.) is a generally steady attention signal either without major interference or in skillful defiance of distractions, choosing always in favor of attention targets and attention demanding tasks. The clear attention state is unobstructed by tense struggle or effort or constant fending off of rising distractions. This may occur at the initial start of a training session or it may occur after your brain is settled into a relaxed mental training routine and you find an easy groove, mostly free from mental wandering, self talk, or temptation take notice of something in the environment.
  2. PARTIALLY DISTRACTED: Unclear attention as evidenced by the fact that you are working to hold target lock despite interference, such as when you resolutely hold to your target even while thoughts whisper in your head without your permission. When those thoughts fade (as they must when deprived of attention), you get to enjoy a delightfully clear attention signal, at least until the next horseman comes galloping up to distract.
  3. FULLY DISTRACTED: Total distraction has occurred when you drop target lock and surrenderyour attention to interference. Some examples are as follows: 
  • You totally forget, even briefly, about your task because your attention is completely hijacked by a thought or self-talk for more than a few seconds.
  • An external incident interrupts your attention for more than a brief moment, causing you to detach your attention from the task to turn fully onto the interruption.
  • A sudden impulse or urge compels you to release your hold from the target in favor of addressing the urge.

Now, let's tap into your Awareness so that you can concentrate it and step into a higher level of active, present moment Attention Control. You can then use your Attention to measure itself by putting it through a series of mental martial arts moves.

Test & Examine Your Attention Span.

  • Zone to Zone Attention Control Training Drill - A simple, easy, friendly tour of your Attention Zones. Your body is an Attention target that you can percieve internally and externally (the surface), entirely. You can zoom in, zoom out, and move all about your interior and exterior form. This skill will prove beyond value later in your training journey as you encounter mental roadblocks from old learning that is currently holding you back. At some point, you will need to take more responsibility for everything that affects your focus, and you will need to shift Attention wherever it needs to go in order to succeed.
  • Mode to Mode Attention Control Training Drill - Move in and out of Voluntary Attention to a target, acquiring, dropping, reacquiring, and dropping Attention target lock repeatedly until your timer sounds. 15, 30, 60 second intervals - do for as long as comfortable up to 10 minutes. Later, use this as a training drill as often and for as long as desired.
  • Direction Orientation Attention Control Training Drill - Intentionally gather your Awareness (your spotlight of Attention) and move it about from target to target, holding at each target before moving on to the next, always changing targets. *Multidot, or they can do it in their environment. In the full training session, this practice drill is broken up into zones to run the spotlight from target to target within each zone for both your body and environment.
  • Duration of Sustainted Attention Control Training Drill - This mental exercise effort allows you to enjoy the real-time experience of concentrating your Awareness until you acquire your target, and then refuse to be shaken from it until you decide to let go. This, you must do in defiance of any and every force that attempts to lure your Awareness into relaxing concentration upon the target. Any influence real or imagined that causes you target 'DROP LOCK' is an obstacle to embrace as an interesting, rewarding challenge to hold steady.

Establishing Your Attention Span Baseline Performance Averages

Coming Soon. Coming Soon. Explanation of the performance average in less than three sentences. (Do it thrice, divide by three, there's your baseline, move on to another area of exertion)...

  • Concentrating your Awareness of yourself and your environment into the mental state called, "Attention."
  • Directing Attention onto a chosen Attention Target.
  • Widening or narrowing the aperature (or lens, or spotlight) of Attention to clearly perceive the Attention Target.
  • Intentionally, consciously relaxing your Attention to remove it from one target and, using your Awareness, guiding Attention to the next target to acquire and hold as needed before letting go of that signal to transition to the next, all voluntarily.
  1. Attention Target and Hold (Your Body) - Internally directed, Tightly Zoomed Attention (like a stage spotlight shrinking to marble size)
  2. Attention Target and Hold (Your Body)- Externally directed, Widely Zoomed (like a marble-sized spot of light zooming outward to take in the whole stage)
  3. Attention Target and Hold (Environment) - Externally directed, Tightly Zoomed Attention (like a spotlight picking out a single small item)
  4. Attention Target and Hold (Environment) - Externally directed, Panoramically Zoomed (widely spread spotlight taking in lots of scenery)

Attention Span Self-Assessment Series - Targeting Your Zones

  1. Attention Target and Hold (Your Body) - Internally directed, Tightly Zoomed. As like a bold, widely cast stage spotlight shrinking down to marble size.
  2. Attention Target and Hold (Your Body)- Externally directed, Widely Zoomed. As like that marble-sized spot of light zooming outward to take in the whole stage.
  3. Attention Target and Hold (Environment) - Externally directed, Tightly Zoomed. As like a spotlight picking out a single small item on the stage.
  4. Attention Target and Hold (Environment) - Externally directed, Panoramically Zoomed. As like a widely spread spotlight taking in lots of scenery on the stage at the simultaneously without losing general clarity, yet letting nothing in particular stand out to cause a narrowing of the beam.

NOTE: As of June, 2023, the Interactive Quiz Assessments mentioned below are being built and should be ready by Mid-July, 2023. Whatever the results to come, you can go ahead and start your training drills in the Resources section of the site. Start drills now and your scores will probably be better by then, anyway.

Attention Control Self-Assessment (Quiz) + Zone-to-Zone Drill

*Check back July 15, 2023 for the Assessment.

Mental Concentration Self-Assessment (Quiz) +Singular Mental Concentration Builder

*Check back July 15, 2023 for the Assessment.

Mental Focus Self-Assessment (Quiz) + Vizualization-related Technique

*Check back July 15, 2023 for the Assessment.

Mindfulness Self-Assessment (Quiz) - Basic Breathing Concentration

*Check back July 15, 2023 for the Assessment.

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