Your Phone is Distracting Even if You Aren’t Using It

Want to focus on the task at hand. Stow the phone. Out of sight. Out of touch. Maybe not out of earshot, but it can’t hurt.

A study published in Social Psychology has found that the mere presence of your phone may be enough to distract you. Researchers had a couple classes of statistics students participate in an experiment where all the students completed a test that measured how closely they could pay attention (from the paper: “Each row of digits was preceded by a “target number” that the subject was to circle and then proceed to cross off each occurrence of the number appearing in that row; then on to the next row with a different target number . . .” Yeah, we definitely didn’t take stats in university). Half the students had their phones out on their desk for the test (they’d been told that they had to make a note of their phone’s brand later), and the other half didn’t have their phone out. The phone-out group did much worse on the test.

This probably isn’t surprising to you, as recent studies have shown that cell phone addiction is a real thing and it’s awesome at ruining conversations. Frankly, they suck.

Photo courtesy of flickr


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