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Distraction is the diverting of the attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. Distraction is caused by one of the following: lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; greater interest in something other than the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelness or attractiveness of the source of distraction.
Distractions come from both external sources (physical stimulus through the five senses) or internal sources (thought, emotion, daydreams, sex drive, etc.)
Divided attention is also defined as distraction in situations requiring full attention on a single object (sports, academic tests, performance, etc.) A handful of interruptions may or may not be considered distractions, because their value or importance is greater than the object of attention; such as a welcomed phone call, creative inspiration, or a medical emergency. Distraction is a major cause of procrastination.
- Research was conducted regarding specific areas of advertisements which tested subjects viewed, and how much time those subjects spend looking at said areas.
- Dr. Roy Baumeister, a sociologist, once tested subjects' willpower against various distractions and temptations.