The studies, in which participants crossed a virtual street while talking on the phone or listening to music, found that the music-listeners were able to navigate traffic as well as the average unencumbered pedestrian.
Users of hands-free cell phones, however, took longer to cross the same street under the same conditions and were more likely to get run over. Older cell-phone users, especially those unsteady on their feet to begin with, were even more likely to become traffic casualties.
“Many people assume that walking is so automatic that really nothing will get in the way,” said University of Illinois psychology professor Art Kramer, who led the research with psychology professor Jason McCarley and postdoctoral researcher Mark Neider. “And walking is pretty automatic, but actually walking in environments that have lots of obstacles is perhaps not as automatic as one might think.”
The first study, in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, found that college-age adults who were talking on a cell phone took 25 percent longer to cross the street than their peers who were not on the phone. They were also more likely to fail to cross the street in the 30 seconds allotted for the task, even though their peers were able to do so.
Each participant walked on a manual treadmill in a virtual environment, meaning that each encountered the exact same conditions – the same number and speed of cars, for example – as their peers.
The second (and not yet published) study gave adults age 60 and above the same tasks, and included some participants who had a history of falling. The differences between those on and off the phone were even more striking in the older group, Kramer said.
“Older adults on the phone got run over about 15 percent more often” than those not on the phone, he said, and those with a history of falling fared even worse.
“So walking and talking on the phone while old, especially, appears to be dangerous,” he said.
Kramer is a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences