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Study Finds Cellphone Notifications Impair Drivers’ Focus

The study found that the simple notification distraction is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cellphones to send texts or make calls.

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Insurance Journal recently reported that a notification on a cellphone can cause enough of a distraction to impair a person’s ability to focus on a given task, according to a new study by Florida State University.

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The study found that the simple notification distraction is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cellphones to send texts or make calls.

The study, “The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Notification,” was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Psychology doctoral student Cary Stothart is the lead author of the study, and his co-authors are former FSU postdoctoral researcher Ainsley Mitchum and Courtney Yehnert, an FSU research coordinator. This is the first study to examine the effect of cellphone notifications on performance.

The findings are significant, according to Insurance Journal, due to the fact that many public campaigns intended to deter cellphone use often times emphasize waiting to respond to calls and messages. But even waiting may take a toll on attention, according to researchers.

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