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A Tip on How to Improve Your Focus: Turn Your Cell Phone on Silent

November 24th, 2015 6 comments

NotificationHave you ever worked on a homework assignment with your cell phone near you so that you can hear when you get a notification?  I know I have.  Cell phone use has become widespread in today’s society.  Everywhere you go, you see people with cell phones in their hands, and they commonly try to use their cell phones as they do something else.  You might see someone looking down at a cell phone while driving, texting while chatting with a friend, and scrolling through a social media app while doing homework. Research has shown that the use of cell phones during a concurrent task can be very distracting and can impair performance on that task, but what about when you receive a notification and do not check or respond to it?

Many people carry their phones with them almost everywhere they go.  For example, you might bring your cell phone to class and store it in your pocket, or leave your cell phone lying on your desk while you work on a homework assignment.  So what happens when you hear a ring or feel vibrations from your cell phone, alerting you that you’ve received a notification?  Does it affect your attention?  Does simply getting a notification on your cell phone, without checking it, have a cost to your attention?  Researchers Stothart, Mitchum, and Yehnert (2015) conducted a study to examine this question.

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