The Zoomer Report: Brain and Cell Phone Conversations
Do you get annoyed when you have to listen to someone else’s cellphone conversation? Well there’s a scientific reason as well as a social one. New research finds that the brain finds it more taxing, and therefore more distracting, to listen to only half of a conversation versus the whole thing.
Researchers did a series of experiments in which college students were asked to do certain tasks that required their full attention under different conditions.
When they did these tasks while listening to a dialogue, they did just as well as they did in a silent room. They also did well when listening to one person recounting an earlier conversation.
But when they heard only one side of the dialogue — similar to overheard cell phone chatter — the number of mistakes piled up.
The research will appear in a upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.
About The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.
Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.
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