Texting & Walking: Study Reveals Why Combo Is Dangerous
You mayِ haveِ mastered walking andِ chewing gum, butِ you shouldِ reconsider adding texting andِ cellphone conversations toِ your ambulatory repertoire, a newِ study warns.
Scientists atِ Stony Brook University inِ New York haveِ foundِ that usingِ a cellphone toِ talk orِ text whileِ walking canِ disrupt yourِ gait toِ suchِ a degree asِ to causeِ accidents.
The study, published inِ the current issue ofِ the journal Gait & Posture, isِ the firstِ to focus onِ the basic mechanics ofِ putting oneِ foot inِ front ofِ the otherِ while usingِ a cellphone, asِ opposed toِ research onِ unexpected physical dangers, suchِ asِ walking intoِ a car orِ downِ a manhole.
Hang up and walk?
Being inِ their 20s, theِ subjects alsoِ were quiteِ skilled atِ using cellphones.
As a baseline test toِ assess walking skills, theِ subjects wereِ asked firstِ to spot a target aboutِ 30 feet (9 meters) awayِ andِ then, whileِ wearing a hood thatِ blocked muchِ of theirِ vision, toِ walk toِ thatِ target.
This time, oneِ group repeated theِ exact sameِ test, withِ a hood; oneِ group didِ it withِ theِ hood whileِ talking onِ a cellphone; andِ one group didِ it withِ theِ hood whileِ texting, able toِ seeِ the cellphone clearly.
Calling the brain; Come in, brain
Although theِ authors themselvesِ describe theِ study asِ preliminary, theyِ state inِ their report thatِ the degree toِ which cellphone useِ alters gait inِ a simple, flat 10-yard path mayِ haveِ significant real-world repercussions.
Beyond theِ obvious — thatِ cellphones areِ distracting — theِ results imply thatِ there isِ a greater cognitive effort involved inِ using a cellphone thanِ the user mightِ anticipate, theِ researchers said.
Christopher Wanjek isِ the author ofِ the books Bad Medicine andِ Food atِ Work.