College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Cell Phone Use and Visual Attention

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2003

Keywords

Adult, Attention, Automobile Driving, Cellular Phone, Neuropsychological Tests, Pattern Recognition, Psychometrics, Psychomotor Performance, Reference Values, Verbal Behavior

Publication Title

Perceptual and Motor Skills

ISSN

0031-5125

Volume

97

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate how much cell phones and just speaking (similar to speaking to someone in the car vs a hands-free cell phone task) interfere with visual attention skills as might be required in a driving situation. Influence of cell phones on attention has been noted but little research has been completed. Licensed adult drivers were divided into three groups (ns = 15) with all subjects taking the Connors Continuous Performance Test II. Group 1 performed without any distractions: those in Group 2 performed with someone in the same room talking to them: Group 3 engaged in a cell phone conversation during the task. Overall, there were substantial differences among groups on all variables, but primarily between the control group and the two experimental groups. While the cell phone group had lower mean scores than the talking group overall, the differences were not significant. Thus, while cell phones were distracting to visual attention functions on the Connors task, they were not more distracting than a similarly active conversation without a cell phone.

DOI

10.2466/PMS.97.6.385-389

Peer Reviewed

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