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Robert Kachelski, Psychology


The purpose of our study was to determine if the mere presence of a person’s cell phone serves as a distraction that impairs task performance, even if the person does not use it. In order to test this, we had two groups of participants complete several tasks that require attention and accurate memory in order to perform well. The tasks used were a card matching game (sometimes known as Concentration), a sequential memory game (Simon), and the n-back task. One group was instructed to put their cell phones away before they were presented with the tasks and the other group was told to put their cell phones on the table near them while performing the tasks because they would need them later. Both groups had their phones turned completely off during the tasks, however. Participants completed two trials with each task, and their average performance was calculated. We then compared the performance of the two groups to see if the presence of cell phones affected how quickly and accurately the participants were able to complete the tasks.

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