Tags: cell | ringtones | harm | learn

Study: Ringtones Hinder Learning

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 11:45 PM


You already know talking on a cell phone can pose a major distraction for drivers. But now a new study has found cell-phone ringtones can significantly hinder students’ ability to recall information and, as a result, hinder learning
The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, finds that just the ring of a cell phone can be a major distraction for students, especially when it comes in a classroom setting or includes a familiar tune.
"In any setting where people are trying to acquire knowledge and trying to retain that information in some way, a distraction that may just seem like a common annoyance to people may have a really disruptive effect on their later retention of that information," said the study's lead author, Jill Shelton, a postdoctoral psychology fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.
The study involved an experiment in which Shelton posed as a student in a crowded psychology lecture and allowed a cell phone in her handbag to ring loudly for about 30 seconds.
Students tested later scored about 25 percent worse when asked to recall course material presented during the distraction. Students scored even worse when Shelton added to the disturbance by frantically searching her handbag to find and silence her ringing phone, or the ringtone was a popular song.
"Many of us consider a cell phone ringing in a public place to be an annoying disruption, but this study confirms that these nuisance noises also have real-life impacts," Shelton said, , in a press release on the findings. "These seemingly innocuous events are not only a distraction, but they have a real influence on learning."


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Students exposed to cell phone ringtones have a harder time recalling material from class, a new study finds.
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Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 11:45 PM
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