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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Predictive text could be making children fast but inaccurate

A study in Australia says that mobile phone use seems to make children faster but less accurate… and predictive text could be to blame. Professor Michael Abramson and his colleagues were working on the Mobile Radiofrequency Phone Exposed Users' Study (MoRPhEUS), which tracked mobile phone usage by children aged 11 to 14.

A quarter of the children made more than 15 voice calls a week and a quarter sent more than 20 text messages a week. When given computer tests, the children who were higher mobile phone users were faster on some tests but were also less accurate.

Professor Abramson says radiation is unlikely to be the cause, because emissions are dramatically less when texting. Instead he thinks the predictive text dictionary, which completes a word after the first few letters have been entered, is to blame.

He also pointed out that his control group was much smaller than he’d have liked, because only 6% of the children he studied weren’t using a mobile phone. [Source: ABC Science]

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