Assignment: hyperattention

Carr cites friends who have experienced the same phenomenon. There is also research on brain function that supports his theory, although, as he concedes, much more research is needed.

No shortage of scholarship exists, however, about positive cognitive aspects of Internet use. Katherine Hayles, a postmodern literary scholar, sees less of a threat in the fragmented and nonlinear processes that the Internet encourages. To be sure, Hayles says, this “hyperattention,” hopping around screens and hyperlinking, is far from the traditional approach of cloistering yourself off from the world to concentrate on a written work. As she sees it, switching through information streams quickly and flexibly has its own value. Hayles calls for “new modes of cognition” that bridge traditional deep attention with Internet-age hyperattention.

Point/Counterpoint Point:

With the superficial engagement of the Internet, we are losing our ability to attend deeply. This devaluation of contemplative thought, solitary thought, and concentration is a loss not only for us as individuals but also for our culture.


The risk of losing our culture and our abilities to reason are exaggerated. There are things that traditional linear and literary approaches can do that hyperattention cannot do and vice versa.

Writing Prompt Journal: Applying Your Media Literacy—Literacy for Media Consumers

Consider the past week. List any differences between your ability to understand and retain information based on its source, as well as whether you are focusing solely on one media source versus multitasking.

The response entered here will appear in the performance dashboard and can be viewed by your instructor.


1.5 Assessing Media Messages

Study Preview Media literacy is the application of knowledge and critical thinking processes to a range of media formats. Fundamentals of media literacy include recognizing message forms, not confusing messages and messengers, understanding the possibilities and limitations of various media and platforms, and placing media in a framework of history and traditions. Media literacy also requires continued questioning of conventional wisdom with the application of critical thinking to the analysis of the media message being explored.

Learning Objectives By the end of this module you will be able to:

  1. 1.5.1 Outline elements of media literacy
  2. 1.5.2 Compare specialization and generalization in media literacy

1.5.1 Fundamentals of Media Literacy 1. Objective: Outline elements of media literacy

By literacy, people usually mean the ability to read and write. Literacy also can mean command of a specific discipline such as history or physics. Media literacy refers to possessing the knowledge to be competent in assessing messages carried by mass media. Media literacy is essential in this Age of Mass Communication that envelopes our lives dawn to dusk, cradle to grave. Some awareness requires broader and deeper media literacy than others.

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