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Twitter Ruining One’s Ability to Pay Attention

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Dr. Joan Twinge’s experiment on the use of Twitter and one’s ability to pay attention, demonstrates the issue of replicability as her second, similar attempt at the study did not give similar findings to the first attempt of the study. In the initial study, participants, (people ages 18 to 35) first responded to a survey regarding their use of Twitter. With this information, researchers then had the participants come into a lab where the had the participants try and complete puzzles while having the distraction of a television in the corner. The results of this study supposedly concluded that participants who frequently used Twitter appeared to be more distracted by the television. The second study was very similar to the initial study and was expected to give similar results.

The second study involved a group of 30 year olds who have never used Twitter before creating Twitter accounts and using the accounts three times a day for a month. A second control group of similar people who did not use Twitter was also studied. The results of the second study did not support the original hypothesis because the group that used twitter three times a day for a month did not demonstrate being any more distracted by the end of the month then at the beginning of the month before the study. This study demonstrates the issue of replicability because the first and second study gave opposite results, despite being conducted in a similar method. The original study and concluding results in turn become questionable due to the fact that the claim that Twitter affects one’s ability to pay attention, was not supported in more than one study. Correlation Versus Causation The proposed correlation between the use of Twitter and one’s ability to focus cannot be a definite result of a cause and effect relationship resulting in a correlation between Twitter use and concentration.

There are many other factors that contribute to one’s ability to concentration than a single social media application. This study disregards the idea that some people may have common disabilities or disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD, social anxiety, high stress levels or, even just curiosity can explain the cause of the participants looking up at the television. ADD or ADHD is a disability that is common in adults and children that can cause difficulty concentrating and putting focus into in activity at a time. Anxiety and stress is now very commonly found in teenagers and adults. It is quite possible that many participants may have felt anxious or stressed while trying to complete the complex puzzles. The participants were put in a situation where they may not have felt comfortable and they may have felt a heavy amount of pressure to complete the puzzle. Looking up at the television could have been due to feeling of uncomfort, nerves, stress or anxiety. There are many other and similar explanations in regards to the participants looking at the television other than a positive correlation caused by frequent Twitter use.


The way in which Dr. Joan Twinge conveys her results in a similar fashion to the way that Freud’s theories and results were conveyed. After the results of the second study regarding Twitter usage the effect on one’s concentration failed to support the original hypothesis, Dr. Joan Twinge refuses to accept that her hypothesis could be subject to failure. Dr. Twinge tries to defend her hypothesis but suggesting that despite the second study not supporting the theory that Twitter usage can affect one’s ability to concentrate, by suggesting that the failure does not mean that the theory is incorrect and that she, herself strongly believes that if one does use Twitter for a long enough period of time, one’s ability to avoid distraction will decline. She also defends the original hypothesis by suggesting that if one does use twitter and that individual has not experienced any decline in their ability to avoid distraction, the simple explanation is that the individual just has not been using Twitter frequently enough or, for a long enough period of time. Dr. Twinge is not open to the fact that the theory may need to be revisited and tweaked and instead, blames the failure to support the theory on the participants.

Over Reliance on Anecdotes Dr. Twinge uses an anecdote from her personal life to “support” the hypothesis that frequent Twitter usage has an effect on one’s ability to focus and avoid distractions. Due to the conflicting results of the two studies, readers cannot verify or apply Dr. Twinge’s anecdote to a number of studies and individuals. Especially in such a general study that is supposed to apply to a number of people. Dr. Twinge believes that because she has noticed a decline in her ability to focus on something for a long period of time, her own experience can easily be generalized to a large group of people. Dr. Twinge also relies on her own belief that if one uses Twitter for a long enough period of time, one’s ability to avoid distraction WILL decline. She also shares her opinion regarding the idea that if one uses Twitter and does not experience any decline in concentration abilities, it simply means that individual has not yet been using Twitter for a long enough amount of time.

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Twitter Ruining One’S Ability To Pay Attention. (2020, February 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from
“Twitter Ruining One’S Ability To Pay Attention.” GradesFixer, 26 Feb. 2020,
Twitter Ruining One’S Ability To Pay Attention. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Oct. 2021].
Twitter Ruining One’S Ability To Pay Attention [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Feb 26 [cited 2021 Oct 25]. Available from:
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