Thursday, February 18, 2010

Driving Distracts Cellphone Users

[wired] Cellphone conversations don’t just interfere with driving. Driving dents the capacity to describe and remember cellphone messages, at least for some of the youngest and oldest drivers, a new study finds.

sciencenewsRoutine driving impedes a person’s ability to relay information from a cellphone call accurately to a conversation partner and to remember key elements of that information, say psychologist Gary Dell of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues. Although many drivers regard talking while cruising a straightaway as no harder than walking while chewing gum, “that intuition is incorrect,” Dell says.

Both older and younger drivers seated next to a passenger and operating a vehicle in a simulator had more difficulty correctly retelling brief stories, versus retelling stories while sitting in an unmoving “car,” the researchers report in the February Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Participants, especially those over age 60, remembered less about stories after simulated driving than after sitting in the unmoving car. That might reflect a greater emphasis on defensive driving among older drivers.

Driving Distracts Cellphone Users

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