Workshop Attention and Concentration


How to concentrate in a world of beeping smartphones, channel surfing, live-tweeting, pop-up ads, and other distractions.

We are in the midst of an attention crisis—caused in large part by our smartphones. There’s a constant stream of information that we are powerless to withstand because it shows up in our notifications. More and more of us are finding it harder and harder to concentrate. In this workshop, attention expert and cognitive psychologist Stefan Van der Stigchel explains how concentration works and offers advice on how to stay focused in a world of beeping smartphones, channel surfing, live-tweeting, pop-up ads, and other distractions.

The good news is that we now know more about brain and behavior than ever before, and in this workshop, he will draw on the latest scientific findings in his account of concentration. He explains, among other things, that the battle for our attention began long before the digital era; why our phones are so addictive; the importance of working memory (responsible for executing complicated tasks) and how to increase its capacity; and why multitasking is bad for our concentration, but attention rituals help it. He explains the positive effects of taking “tech breaks” (particularly in natural surroundings), meditation, and even daydreaming. We can win the battle for our attention, if we have the knowledge and the tools to do it.

Stefan van der Stigchel is a professor in Cognitive Psychology at the department of Experimental Psychology at Utrecht University and principal investigator of the research group AttentionLab. For his research on visual attention, he received a VENI and VIDI NWO grant, and recently an ERC Consolidator Grant. Stefan is author of the popular science book Zo werkt aandacht, which was published as the English How Attention Works in January 2019. His second book Concentratie was released in the Netherlands in November 2018 and published by MIT Press in 2020. His books have been translated in Russian, Korean and Chinese.

The workshop will be offered on two different locations. ARC CBBC PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers only.

17 October: Utrecht University – 13.00 – 17.00 hr.

19 October: University of Groningen – 9.30 – 13.00 hr.

Only for ARC CBBC PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers.

Please indicate your preferred location when you register.

Registration Workshop Attention and Concentration Oct 2022

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