Overhearing mobile conversations 'more annoying than regular chit-chats'

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Melbourne, Sep 14 (ANI): People get more distracted and annoyed by overhearing others talking on phone than by regular conversations, a new study suggests.

Researchers have said that 'halfalogue'-a term given to the half of a dialogue that people hear when someone else is having a conversation on a phone nearby-has a irritating impact on the hearer, reports News.com.au.

In the first experiment, 24 college students were asked to perform computer tasks that required their full concentration.

The researchers then played a mixture of recordings including people having a conversation and one person having a halfalogue on a phone, and measured the impact of each.

They found that the halfalogue, but not the other recordings, led to "significant distraction".

In the second experiment, they repeated the test but "filtered" the recordings so that the actual words were unrecognisable.

"The effect was similar to hearing someone speak under water," they said.

Researchers said that overhearing one half of a phone conversation is so distracting because your brain finds it hard to predict what words will come next.

"Because overhearing a cell-phone conversation entails access to only half of a dialogue, the speech content is less predictable than that of a full conversation," the researchers said.

The findings were reported in Psychological Science. (ANI)

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