Why Overheard Cell Phone Conversations Are So Annoying

Time -- Report in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists say that one-sided cell phone conversations are more distracting than overhearing a conversation between two people. The researchers, from the University of San Diego, recruited 164 undergraduate students to complete an assignment involving anagrams. While they were concentrating on the task, the scientists held a scripted conversation that the participants were meant to overhear about furniture shopping, a birthday party, a meeting or a date at the mall. Half of the students overheard the only half of the conversation, as a researcher conducted it over the phone, while the other half heard both sides as it happened between two of the team members in an adjacent room. (Full Story