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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mobile phones make walking difficult… and clowns invisible

A research team led by Dr Ira E Hyman Jr of Western Washington University has shown that mobile phone users are distracted by their calls much more than they’d probably realise. The results of the study, which are due to be published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, showed that mobile phones were more distracting than music players or walking with a friend.

Researchers arranged for a unicycling clown to ride around the centre of a university campus. Only a quarter of mobile users noticed the clown, whilst over half of non-mobile walkers noticed the unusual event. (The highest result was from people walking in pairs, when 71% noticed). In addition, mobile phone users walked more slowly, changed direction more often, were prone to weaving and acknowledged other individuals more rarely. [Sources: WWU.edu; Telegraph.co.uk; Wiley.com]

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