Hard to believe, but apparently adults' ability to concentrate has actually increased over the past two decades. University of Vienna scientists looked at data from thousands of people across 32 countries and found that today's adults are better at concentrating at work than the previous generation.
"The research group that conducted the study, led by Denise Andrzejewski of the University of Vienna, sees this observation as initial evidence that attention is also subject to the Flynn effect, a phenomenon that was observed in many countries in the mid- to late 20th century, in which the population's mean IQ, or intelligence quotient—as measured through standardized testing—rose from generation to generation," according to Scientific American.
To study concentration, scientists used a test where people had to spot specific letters quickly and accurately within a time limit. They discovered that adults' performance in this test has gotten better, while kids' performance stayed about the same.
If we truly are getting smarter as a society—at least as measured by IQ (which of course is problematic in itself)—our ability to focus on tasks might be one of the reasons why.