Inattentional Blindness Side-Effect Of 'Walking While Talking'

by Medindia Content Team on Oct 22 2009 8:22 AM

Used to walking on the streets while on your cell phone? A new study has proved that this habit can be so distracting that it causes inattentional blindness.

Researchers at Western Washington University investigated the effects of divided attention during walking.

Individuals were classified based on whether they were walking while talking on a cell phone, listening to an MP3 player, walking without any electronics or walking in a pair.

In the first study, the researchers found that cell phone users walked more slowly, changed directions more frequently, and were less likely to acknowledge other people than individuals in the other conditions.

In the second study, they found that cell phone users were less likely to notice an unusual activity along their walking route (a unicycling clown).

The study suggests that cell phone usage may cause inattentional blindness even during a simple activity that should require few cognitive resources.