Friday, February 11, 2011

Study: Taking Breaks May Improve Attention

New research is providing increasing evidence to support the proverbial wisdom behind “work smarter, not harder.” Taking breaks, it seems, may actually enhance task performance.

A new study by Alejandro Lleras and Atsunori Ariga at the University of Illinois found that when given the same task, subjects who took brief breaks performed better than subjects who did not take breaks. This is consistent with the notion that change signals a heightened alertness in the brain. “We propose that deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused,” Lleras said.

Teachers may wish to consider these findings when designing their daily agendas, scheduling breaks along the way for prolonged tasks. Similarly, students should try to schedule short breaks into their study time regularly.

Photo Credit: robstephaustralia via Flickr Creative Commons

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