Study proves that talking on your cell phone makes you act like an a**hole.

By Seriously Science | April 9, 2014 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/photoloni

Photo: flickr/photoloni

We know that overhearing someone’s cell phone conversation is annoying. But does the act of talking on the phone actually make you more of a jerk? In this study, the authors tested whether people talking on their phone would be less likely to help someone in need — in this case, a ‘confederate’ wearing a leg brace who drops a stack of magazines. As you might have guessed, the people on the phone were much less likely to offer any help (9% vs. 72% for people not on the phone). Is this no big deal?  A sign of the death of civilized society? Discuss!

A preliminary examination of cell phone use and helping behavior.

“Use of a cell phone reduces attention and increases response times. 62 people (30 men, 32 women) were confronted with a confederate wearing a large leg brace, who dropped a stack of magazines and feigned difficulty retrieving them. Among the 33 people who talked on their cell phones only 9% offered their help, whereas among the 29 people who did not talk on their cell phones, 72% offered help. The use of cell phones affects helping behavior.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: The effects of wearing a costume on charitable donations.
NCBI ROFL: Why overheard cell phone conversations are extra annoying.
NCBI ROFL: OMG! ur cell phone is mkng u impotent.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: duh, feelings shmeelings
  • Hard Little Machine

    Hopefully all people who do what we don’t like will be exterminated soon.

  • joe

    um, I’m using something with my hands and you need help picking something up. Surprise, surprise, I’m less likely to help you when my hands are busy. How about we try this with a person who already has a handful of groceries. I bet less then 9% of them would stop and help.

    • Rodzilla

      Just tell the person on the other end of that oh, so important call to hold on, for a moment, put your very light phone in your pocket, and help someone else for a change. Surprise, surprise, it wasn’t that hard, after all. Also, a lot of things people with their hands full drop can be picked up with the one free hand that isn’t holding something. Big difference between a few ounces of phone and two armfuls of packages.
      From my own observations, people on their phones ARE typically rude to others. I have often seen someone hold up the teller in a bank or grocery store, because they are talking on their phone.

  • that fred

    “Hey, I’ll call you back in a minute. There’s a guy here I need to help.” Not so hard to be civilized, “joe”

  • atg

    I’m with joe. How about a study that doesn’t predispose the outcome. Or if it was done that way, how about presenting all the facts.

  • Amir D Aczel

    Why am I not surprised?? And the article didn’t even get into the usual rudeness of cellphone talkers. How many of them would have the decency to others to step out of a train compartment or a waiting room, and go outside to take a call?

  • Dave Grieder

    News flash! Study proves that woman having sex are more likely to become pregnant.

  • rednek1947

    It’s funny that we survived the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s without a phone shoved in our ear.

  • eh1eh

    This “study ” proves nothing except Discovery’s pandering to the lowest common denominator.

  • gene

    9% of people on cell phones rudely interrupt their phone call to help somebody they don’t even know.

    I’d like to see how many people that are just texting or surfing the web would help. Maybe not 72%, but probably higher than 9%.


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