People Talking On Their Cell Phones Miss The Darnedest Things

Did you see that?“We investigated the effects of divided attention during walking,” write researchers at Western Washington University in a study to be published in December. “Individuals were classified based on whether they were walking while talking on a cell phone, listening to an MP3 player, walking without any electronics or walking in a pair. In the first study, we found that cell phone users walked more slowly, changed directions more frequently, and were less likely to acknowledge other people than individuals in the other conditions. In the second study, we found that cell phone users were less likely to notice an unusual activity along their walking route (a unicycling clown). Cell phone usage may cause inattentional blindness even during a simple activity that should require few cognitive resources.”