It is already well established that talking on a cell phone can lead to detrimental performance on a simultaneously performed visuomotor task, but researchers have so far overlooked the nature of conversation in their analyses. In this study we conducted an experiment testing participants’ ability at completing a smooth pursuit task while engaged in conversation with a friend. Our main interest was to design a method of analysis that takes into account the interactivity of conversation, which has so far been ignored in past research. Especially, we were concerned with attentional processes and how different stages in conversational interactions may pose different attentional demands. We therefore analyzed task performance data according to the following conditions: Talk, Listen, Prepare to Speak, Overlap, Participant Maintains, and Partner Maintains. Based on findings from Almor (2008) we expected to find worst performance on the smooth pursuit task during the Prepare to Speak condition and during Overlap. Results indicate that across all conditions the Talk segments were the most detrimental, while Prepare to Speak and Overlap were more detrimental than Listen. We also analyzed visuomotor task performance according to conversational conditions in easy (Low mean target speed range), medium (Mid range) and difficult (High range) conditions. We found that Low and High speed conditions led to shorter segments than the Mid condition indicating different patterns of attention allocation in the three speed ranges.
|School:||University of South Carolina|
|School Location:||United States -- South Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 47/06M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Experimental psychology, Cognitive psychology|
|Keywords:||Attention allocation, Cell phone, Conversation segments, Maintenance, Natural conversation, Visuomotor task|
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