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Stranger's Cell Phone Ring May Thwart Your Thinking
Date:6/4/2009

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"This was a pretty big drop in performance," Shelton said.

In another experiment, Shelton rummaged mercilessly through her bag to find the phone. After this incident, students performed even worse on their recall.

When people were warned beforehand that the cell phone would ring, the break in attention was less severe, Shelton said.

"Giving people warning may help them to ignore it," Shelton said.

According to background information in the paper, more than 262 million people in the United States use cell phones. Shelton said that, right now, most universities seem to be relying on students' common courtesy to tame cell phone use during class, rather than explicit rules.

More information

There's information on state laws on cell phones/driving at the Governors Highway Safety Association.



SOURCES: Jill T. Shelton, Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow, department of psychology, Washington University, St. Louis; online Journal of Environmental Psychology


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