It's Not Just Your Attention
What does it mean to pay attention? Nick Seaver, an assistant professor of anthropology at Tufts, says it’s a lot more than just how closely you follow, say, this sentence—or the thread of a conversation.
Attention tells us about our culture and our society’s norms. A century and a half ago, he says, a child might have been criticized for reading a book instead of being outdoors and productive; now a youngster might draw disapproving looks for viewing a video on YouTube instead of reading a book.
“The words we use to talk about attention often reveal what we value,” says Seaver.
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