Think you have razor-sharp focus? Let’s test it.
Look at the below puzzle, and try to find the ‘T’ hidden amongst the ‘L’s. You have one clue: The ‘T’ won’t be red. If you can find it in under 10 seconds, you can feel pretty special:
How’d you go? Did you nail it? Or are you currently struggling with the temptation to pull out your own eyelashes?
The test is the creation of John Hopkins University – who say the instruction to ignore red symbols actually slows people down rather than aiding them.
“Individuals who explicitly ignore distracting information improve their visual search performance, a critical skill for professional searchers, like radiologists and airport baggage screeners,” lead author Corbin A Cunningham said in Psychological Science.
Didn’t manage to find it? Here it is:
“This work has the potential to help occupations that rely on visual search by informing future training programs.”
Researchers found having a high ability to ignore irrelevant information is an integral component of paying attention.
Having great focus is pretty important if you want to be successful in your career. Watch below to find out Google’s ‘traits for success’ (post continues after video).
“Attention is usually thought of as something that enhances the processing of important objects in the world,” co-author Howard Egeth says.
“This study, along with some recent work in which we measured brain activity while subjects responded selectively to stimuli presented in the midst of competing stimuli, highlights the importance of active suppression of those competing stimuli. It’s what I think of as the dark side of attention.”
So basically, you need to be an expert sifter of information, and capable of separating the irrelevant stuff from the super important Blue T’s in the world.
Go forth and visually sift away, friends.
How’d you go? Nail it or fail it?
*Featured image via John Hopkins University