30 seconds of ringtone linked to 25% drop in test scores, study found
THURSDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- As if folks needed another reason to be annoyed at other people's cell phones, researchers now report that just 30 seconds of a stranger's nearby ringtone can impair thinking, at least briefly.
Students unwittingly involved in a classroom experiment saw their test scores sink after a fellow "student's" phone went off.
The finding shows that "there are real-world implications for these sounds in our environment," said study lead author Jill Shelton. "They are distracting. They significantly disrupt performance in a classroom setting."
Shelton, who recently published the findings online in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, said, "this data says it's not just annoying. It's actually leading to impairment in learning, whether in a business meeting or in a classroom or some other setting." She is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the department of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, but completed the study while a doctoral student at Louisiana State University.
The bulk of the research into the impact of cell phones has focused on their use while driving. Most of that research has found a distracting and potentially dangerous mix.
Prior research has also indicated that the human brain can only attend to a finite amount of stimuli at a time.
In the new study, Shelton and her co-authors conducted a series of experiments, both in the lab and in "real world" university settings, to see how cell phone rings affected cognitive performance.
First, in the lab, students were exposed to different types of sound: "irrelevant," non-cell-phone-related noise from an undetermined source; a standard cell phone ring; and a ringtone consisting of bars from the Louisiana State University fight song.
"At this time, LSU was running for their national c
All rights reserved