Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lab findings suggest reason cell phones and driving don't mix

It has to do with cognition and attention, not psychomotor function ...

"The reason talking on a cell phone makes drivers less safe may be that the brain can't simultaneously give full attention to both the visual task of driving and the auditory task of listening, a study by a Johns Hopkins University psychologist suggests.

The study, published in a recent issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, reinforces earlier behavioral research on the danger of mixing mobile phones and motoring.

"Our research helps explain why talking on a cell phone can impair driving performance, even when the driver is using a hands-free device," said Steven Yantis, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the university's Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

"The reason?" he said. "Directing attention to listening effectively 'turns down the volume' on input to the visual parts of the brain. The evidence we have right now strongly suggests that attention is strictly limited ? a zero-sum game. When attention is deployed to one modality ? say, in this case, talking on a cell phone ? it necessarily extracts a cost on another modality ? in this case, the visual task of driving.""   continued ...   (Via cellular-news)

Driving with Cell Phone - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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