Störande prat i mobilen

Jag finner det ofta plågsamt att sitta intill någon som talar med någon i mobilen. Samtidigt störs jag sällan av två personer som talar med varandra. Hur kan det komma sig? En ny studie, ”Overheard Cell-Phone Conversation: When Less Speech Is More Distracting”, publicerad i Psychological Science, verkar ha svaret:

Overhearing someone on a cell phone means hearing only half of a conversation-a ”halfalogue.” We show that merely overhearing a halfalogue results in decreased performance on cognitive tasks designed to reflect the attentional demands of daily activities. By contrast, overhearing both sides of a cell-phone conversation or a monologue does not result in decreased performance. This may be because the content of a halfalogue is less predictable than both sides of a conversation. In a second experiment, we controlled for differences in acoustic factors between these types of overheard speech, establishing that it is the unpredictable informational content of halfalogues that results in distraction. Thus, we provide a cognitive explanation for why overheard cell-phone conversations are especially irritating: Less-predictable speech results in more distraction for a listener engaged in other tasks.

Jag har tidigare trott att det beror på ljudvolym: att personer som talar i mobil talar högre, men så tycks det alltså i regel inte vara. Mot bakgrund av detta resultat undrar jag om det är så bra av flygbolag att snart börja tillåta passagerare att tala i mobilen på flygplan.