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
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences
22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences