A recent study has shown that ringtones can hamper concentration and focus on tasks , especially the catchy ones which are personal favourites.
A research conducted by Washington university, St. Louis, reveals that students scored substantially less in tests after being exposed to ringing mobile phones. The worst results were posted after hearing a song they knew and liked.
"Many of us consider a mobile phone ringing in a public place an annoying disruption, but this study confirms that these nuisance noises also have real-life impacts," said Jill Shelton of Washington University, who led the study.
"These seemingly innocuous events are not only a distraction, but they have a real influence on learning," said Shelton.
The study included an experiment in which Shelton posed as a student seated in the middle of a crowded undergraduate psychology lecture at Louisiana State University and allowed a mobile phone in her handbag to continue ringing loudly for about 30 seconds.
Students exposed to a briefly ringing cell phone scored 25 percent worse on a test of material presented before the distraction, the Daily Mail reports.
Students tested later scored about 25 percent worse for recall of course content presented during the distraction, even though the same information was covered by the professor just prior to the phone ring and projected as text in a slide show shown throughout the distraction.
Students scored even worse when Shelton added to the disturbance by frantically searching her handbag as if attempting to find and silence her device.
Perhaps most surprising, the study found that unexpected exposure to snippets of a popular song, such as those often used as ringtones, can have an even-longer-lasting negative impact on attention.