A study published the PLoS One journal has determined that overhearing a cellphone conversation versus hearing two people talking, ranks the highest on the list of modern irritants. It's a case of waiting for the other shoe to drop:
Mounting evidence suggests that the habits encouraged by mobile technology namely, talking in public to someone who is not there are tailor made for hijacking the cognitive functions of bystanders.
One reason, said Veronica V. Galván, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of San Diego and the lead author of the study, is the brains desire to fill in the blanks.
If you only hear one person speaking, youre constantly trying to place that part of the conversation in context, Dr. Galván said. Thats naturally going to draw your attention away from whatever else youre trying to do.
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