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Researchers argue that attention spans are shorter than ever. They contend that a goldfish retains interest in a stimulus longer than the average Internet user. See Dr. K. R. Subramanian, “Myth and Mystery of Shrinking Attention Span,” Int’l Journal of Trend in Research and Development, Vol. 5(3), 5, (June 2018). Elevator pitches once lasted the average length of a New York lift—118 seconds; now, the same colloquial term references a 30 second spiel. Id. at 5. Television commercials are half as long today than in the 1950s and 60s—from one minute to 30 seconds. Id. Regardless of whether the result is due to causation or correlation, the modern-day human being is reported to have only two-thirds (five minutes) of the attention span evidenced less than two decades ago (12 minutes). Id.

As attention spans shorten, many businesses have evolved to compensate. Various U.S. industries have embraced new strategies to re-capture their consumer’s attention. Leaders in information technology, like Microsoft, have found that intermittent, burst trainings lead to increased rates of retention and transfer. Id. at 4. Even the wildly popular TED Talk concerns itself with retaining viewership and requires presenters to deliver life-changing mantras in under 18-minutes. See Neil A. Bradbury, “Attention span during lectures: 8 seconds, 10 minutes, or more?,” Chicago Medical School, Adv. Physiol Educ. 40: 509 (Oct. 19, 2016). Unfortunately, jury instructions given during trials have not evolved in the same manner.

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