Sunday, January 17, 2010

Distracted Walking

The New York Times has an interesting piece documenting the public health risks of walking while texting or talking on one's phone.

Pedestrians, like drivers, have long been distracted by myriad tasks, like snacking or reading on the go. But the constant interaction with electronic devices has made single-tasking seem boring or even unproductive.

Cognitive psychologists, neurologists and other researchers are beginning to study the impact of constant multitasking, whether behind a desk or the wheel or on foot. It might stand to reason that someone looking at a phone to read a message would misstep, but the researchers are finding that just talking on a phone takes its own considerable toll on cognition and awareness. |Driven to Distraction: Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky - NYT|

The article is fascinating but doesn't discuss my concern about use of phones or Ipods while walking, which is that it makes you easy prey for anyone wishing to do you harm.

According to this article, most people didn't even notice a clown riding a unicycle while talking on their phones and walking... this suggests to me they are likely to miss a suspicious man with a knife as well!

I try to keep my head on a swivel while out in public and be aware of my surroundings, I guess that's what makes me hyper-vigilant in the eyes of some...

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