Headshot of psychologist, author, and UC Irvine professor Gloria Mark

How people interact with information technology on a day-to-day basis—and how it impacts their attention span, moods, and stress levels—is a topic that Gloria Mark has been passionately researching for nearly two decades. On April 15, the author, psychologist, and Chancellor’s Professor Emerita of Informatics at University of California, Irvine, will be visiting Lafayette College to deliver this year’s Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecture. She will not only discuss her findings, but also provide strategies for reigniting the ability to focus.

Mark’s lecture, “Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Well-Being, and Productivity in the Digital Age,” which is open to the public and presented by the Office of the President, will draw from her latest book of the same title. Mark’s research has shown that while technology was designed to enhance our efficiency and productivity, the constant stream of information it exposes us to has become a source of distraction and burnout. Attention spans have been steadily declining over the last 20 years; but, as Mark explains in her book, that does not mean we cannot change how the digital world affects us. Through a unique real-world approach to her research, Mark has identified tried-and-true methods for regaining control over digital media to achieve greater well-being and become more productive in our daily lives.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Mark to our campus,” says President Nicole Hurd. “I think we can all relate to feeling overwhelmed and distracted by the myriad news stories, emails, and social media posts that bombard us each day. I look forward to hearing about her research, and to thinking about how we can incorporate more balance and well-being into our community.”

Mark, who earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, has been a visiting senior researcher at Microsoft Research for nine years. A Fulbright scholar and an NSF CAREER grant recipient, she  was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy in 2017. Mark is best known for her work in studying people’s multitasking, mood, behavior, and stress in real-world environments, with the goal of creating a holistic picture of people’s technology use. She also is interested in studying the adaptation to remote work environments and what that means for the future of the workplace. 

Mark has published more than 200 papers in the top journals and conferences in the fields of human-computer interactions (HCI) and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). Also the author of the book Multitasking in the Digital Age, Mark has been invited to present at SXSW and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and her work on multitasking has been featured by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Atlantic, BBC, and more. She was general co-chair of the ACM CHI 2017 conference, was papers chair of ACM CSCW in 2012 and 2006, and currently serves as associate editor of the journal Human-Computer Interaction.

The Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecture Series was founded by Trustee Emeritus Thomas Roy Jones in 1973 to provide Lafayette College students with the opportunity to hear presentations and interact each year with individuals of exemplary accomplishment in the academic world or in public life. The lectures are free and open to the public. The visiting lecturer also leads an afternoon discussion with students and sometimes visits one or two classes. Nominations are submitted by members of the faculty to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Commencement each spring. The committee reviews the nominations and selects the top five or six choices.


  • The 2024 Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecture will be free and open to the public. The talk will be delivered April 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Colton Chapel. A Q&A session and subsequent light reception will follow the lecture. Registration is requested: Register here. For questions about the event, please contact Aimee Torrisi, Office of the President, at torrisia@lafayette.edu.


  • Lafayette College community members are invited to submit nominations for the 2024-25 Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecturer now through April 30. This prestigious lectureship offers a forum to consider the views and work of a prominent public figure and discuss a timely topic. The nominees should have notable accomplishments in academic and/or public life. Learn about past Jones Visiting Lecturers and the program. A selection from the nominees will be made by members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Commencement. If you have questions, contact Aimee Torrisi in the President’s Office.
Categorized in: Academic News, Campus life, Community, Featured News, Lectures, Lectures-Discussions, News and Features

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