Do distractions affect concentration and our ability to focus?

We developed 2 standard reading passages and quizzes. 1 quiz will be given to 10 people once without distractions and once with distractions. We will be measuring the time that they took to do the tests and the score with and without the distractions.
Hassaan Rafiq Mila Ejner
Grade 7


If we provide a reading quiz, and questions and assign it to 2 groups (first without distractions and then with the distractions), then the group without the distractions will complete it quicker, along with a higher score than the distractions group due to the test subjects being distracted.


We get distracted because we want to feel good.Distraction is when we let our thoughts control our actions. There are 2 types of distractions, internal and external. Internal is something that goes on inside you like a daydream, anxiety or depression. External is our surroundings like a phone or a book. In today's world distractions are our devices. (phone, tablet,computer etc.)  They make noises send us attention-drawing notifications. 


Manipulated: Passage

Responding:  time taken to do reading passage and questions, score on quiz

Constant: distractions, people doing it, passage style and difficulty


1. we identified 10 subjects who were to be given 2 reading passages of equal difficulty. The length of passages, types of questions and amount of questions were all the same. We chose 2 reading passages so it would remove any bias associates with memorized answers. 

2. We gave quiz 1 to all subjects with no distractions. The time to complete the quiz and score was recorded. 

3. We then gave quiz 2 to the same subjects with leveled distractions. The time and score were also recorded. 


Control Group (no distractions)

Friend Score Time (minutes)
friend #1 9/10 2:52
friend #2 8/10 2:29
friend #3 10/10 1:31
friend #4 10/10 3:06
friend #5 10/10 2:15
friend #6 10/10 3:27
friend #7 10/10 1:31
friend #8 10/10  2:14
friend #9 9/10 2:33
friend #10 10/10 2:27

Vairiable Group (with distractions) 

Friend score time (minutes)
friend #1 9/10 3:01
friend #2 8/10 3:05
friend #3 7/10 1:33
friend #4 10/10 3:08
friend #5 8/10 1:36
friend #6 9/10 2:39
friend #7 10/10 1:06
friend #8 10/10 2:29
friend #9 9/10 2:58
friend #10 10/10 2:35



There were no increases in score when the distractions were added. 3 scores went down and the other 7 were the same. The high score in the control group was 10/10 and the low score was 8/10. The high score was 10/10 for the distractions but the low score was 7/10.  

The control group's average time to complete the test was 2 minutes and 26.5 seconds. The average score was 9.6/10 (96%)

The distraction group's average time was 3 minutes and 15 seconds. The average score was 9/10. (90%) 


The average time to complete the test went up by 33.1% when the distractions were added. The avereage score decreased by 6.25% when the distractions were added.

 Distraction decreases our ability to focus on the task in hand as my results told us, because the subjects were more interested in the distractions. This proves distraction does affect our concentration. Therefore my hypothesis is correct. (If we provide a reading quiz, and questions and assign it to 2 groups {first without distractions and then with the distractions}, then the group without the distractions will complete it quicker and with a higher score.)

A decrease in concestration led to an increase time to be spent and a lack of focus caused inaccuracy and lower scores.

My hypothesis was correct  because the distraction's time more than the time of no distractions.  The reason for this is that the passage may have been uninteresting then the subjects were more interested in the distraction than the work. Or  the distractions caused the subjects to divert their attetion to the distractions. 


This is related to real life because distractions in real life can prevent you from doing work in class, at home or at work. They may cause you to delay your completion time, cause you to forget completely or you do it incorrectly.

For example you are doing your homework and a social media notification comes up, you go see what the notification was and you are talking to your friend through social media insted of doing your homework and you never finished the assignment.

Another example is making food. Perhaps you are baking cookies, they're nearly done, and a notification pops up on your phone. You leave the cookies, and check the notification. You wasted an hour on your phone, and then finally realized the cookies burned.

Another example is class. If you are in a boring class annd your teacher is going on about the French Revolution and an internal thought comes to you all of a sudden you are lost in your thoughts for an hour. Then a few weeks later that was on the test and you had no notes to study and you fail your test. 

In this expiriment we found that distractions lead to a decrease our concetration and focus causing delay in compleation or a decrease in accuracy.

We are using devices to make us more efficient, however they are distracting, causing us to delay our work completion or to make us forget completely, resulting in inefficeincy insted of increased efficiency which is what they were intended for. 

Sources Of Error

I did some experiments outside and some inside. As a result, some subjects were more distracted outside than inside. If I did them all inside, then maybe the results would have been more consistant. If the results were more conisistant, then they may have been easier to analyse. 


I would like to thank my friends and family who allowed me to do this expiriment on them. 


No Log Book Provided