The Attention Span Myth Analysis

915 Words 4 Pages
How does a person characterize an attention span? People may reckon that someone having a decent attention span is attentive and a person who is inattentive has a short attention span. In “The Attention Span Myth,” the author Virginia Heffernan debates on whether attention spans are real or not. “Heffernan is a national correspondent for Yahoo News [and a] former editor at Harper’s magazine” (Heffernan 113). She uses certain strategies to inform the reader on her information and certain types of evidences to prove her claim. Virginia Heffernan claimed that attention spans are unreal in her article, “The Attention Span Myth.” She uses a rhetorical strategy, which is pathos to connect with the reader. Heffernan also uses two different types of …show more content…
In her article, Heffernan talks about the story of “Moby Dick” and relates it to her argument. The following statement was taken from her article: “In ‘Moby-Dick,’ Starbuck tries to distract Ahab from his monomania with evocations of family life in Nantucket. Under the spell of “a cruel, remorseless emperor” …Ahab’s doom comes from his undistractibility” (Heffernan 114). By adding a summary of “Moby Dick” into her article, Heffernan demonstrates knowledge of what she is arguing about. She is able to connect it to the aspect that attention spans are not real. Evidence is what proves a point no matter what the point is. As long as there is textual evidence to reinforce the sentiments a person is trying to prove, that person’s argument will be excellent. That is exactly what Virginia Heffernan did by adding this story about “Moby Dick.” She lures the reader into her article and connects her ideas into one whole argument, which is that attention spans are obscure. The reader will look at this technique and consider the article more educational because the author is using sources to back up her argument, which is that attention spans are merely a ‘myth’. By using different sources, it portrays that the author has done her homework on the topic she is writing about. Thus, by adding textual evidence, Heffernan makes her argument stronger …show more content…
She uses science writers to strengthen her argument that attention spans are unrealistic. Heffernan expresses her thoughts in the following statement: “Science writers like Jonah Lehrer have pointed to studies that seem to demonstrate perfectly respectable attention spans in gamers and Web users” (Heffernan 113). In this quote, Virginia Heffernan is pointing out the research she has found on this topic. She is informing the reader that her idea, which is that attention spans are nonexistent, did no appear out of nowhere. However, it proves that Heffernan has dedicated time to this article and this is helpful to her because readers will look at this aspect of the article and view it with more credibility. Heffernan demonstrates that she has done her research and found information, which supports her claim. This use of information is classified in the experimental evidence because there was research done to prove a point. Therefore, the use of experimental evidence in this article strengthens and makes the article richer in context. Throughout “The Attention Span Myth,” many rhetorical strategy and different types of evidence were used in order to support Virginia Heffernan’s claim that attention spans do not exist. The ones rhetorical strategy that stood out of the article was the use of pathos to capture the reader’s

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