Half a conversation, fully annoying [telecom]

Excerpt from

Uncommon Knowledge

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Half a conversation, fully annoying

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that using a cellphone makes it harder to pay attention to other things going on around you. Thus, many states now restrict cellphone use while driving. Now, with a new study, it looks like they may have to consider curbing conversations by passengers, too. When people could hear one side of a phone conversation in the background, they performed worse on tasks that demanded attention. This did not happen to people overhearing the full dialogue, a monologue, or when the audio of the conversation was filtered so that its content could not be understood. All of this suggests that unpredictable speech is an extra distraction and may also explain why overhearing a cellphone conversation at a party or a movie can be more annoying than overhearing other conversations.

Emberson, L. et al., "Overheard Cell-Phone Conversations: When Less Speech Is More Distracting," Psychological Science (forthcoming).

Reply to
Monty Solomon
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........ This would have to be a human survival trait wouldn't it?

In the "olden days", if you heard only one half of a loud conversation then chances were that there was a mentally unstable person around that could well tip over the edge when near to you and therefore be considered a real threat, so you paid attention in case a weapon made an appearance.

These days it seems that a different mental condition that still constitutes a threat is the paradigm.

-- Regards, David.

David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.

Reply to
David Clayton

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