Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Distracted By A Cell Phone? Some Cell Phone Users Fail To See Unicycling Clown Passing Them

Date:
October 20, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Everyone tends to float off into space once in a while and fail to see what is sitting there right in front of them. Recently researchers decided to put the theory of "inattentional blindness" to the test: the unicycling clown test. They documented real-world examples of people who were so distracted by their cell phone use that they failed to see the bizarre occurrence of a unicycling clown passing them on the street.

Clown on a unicycle.
Credit: iStockphoto/Nicholas Rjabow

Everyone tends to float off into space once in a while and fail to see what is sitting there right in front of them. Recently researchers decided to put the theory of “inattentional blindness” to the test: the unicycling clown test. They documented real-world examples of people who were so distracted by their cell phone use that they failed to see the bizarre occurrence of a unicycling clown passing them on the street.

Related Articles


The study is published in an upcoming issue of Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Compared with individuals walking alone, in pairs, or listening to their ipod, cell phone users were the group most prone to oblivious behavior: only twenty-five percent of them noticed the unicycling clown. The walkers not using a cell phone noticed the clown over fifty-percent of the time.

Furthermore, the cell phone users had difficulties performing even the simple task of walking, an action that should require relatively few cognitive resources. They walked more slowly, changed direction more often, were prone to weaving, and acknowledged other individuals more rarely.

Dr. Ira E. Hyman, Jr. at Western Washington University, head researcher of the study, says: “If people experience so much difficulty performing the task of walking when on a cell phone just think of what this means when put into the context of driving safety. People should not drive while talking on a cell phone.” Furthermore, the research shows that the level of familiarity with the person’s real-world environment does not affect their attentional awareness.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ira E. Hyman Jr., S. Matthew Boss, Breanne M. Wise, Kira E. McKenzie, Jenna M. Caggiano. Did you see the unicycling clown? Inattentional blindness while walking and talking on a cell phone. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2009; n/a DOI: 10.1002/acp.1638

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Distracted By A Cell Phone? Some Cell Phone Users Fail To See Unicycling Clown Passing Them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019172628.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, October 20). Distracted By A Cell Phone? Some Cell Phone Users Fail To See Unicycling Clown Passing Them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019172628.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Distracted By A Cell Phone? Some Cell Phone Users Fail To See Unicycling Clown Passing Them." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019172628.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins