It looks like science has confirmed what we were all thinking: being party to one half of someone else's cell phone conversation is seriously annoying. In a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, Cornell University
grad student Lauren Emberson explains it thusly: not being able to hear the responses to one part of the convo proves inherently unsettling, because it's unpredictable, and thus makes it hard to concentrate. According to Science News
, Emberson found that, while performing "attention tasks" in silence or while listening to various conversations (including a normal, two-sided conversation, a one-sided cell phone conversation, and a monologue) accurate completion of the tests "declined slightly but to a statistically significant extent" during the one-sided conversations, relative to the other conditions. Now if someone could only do a similar study involving The Best Of Sade
, maybe we could cite it the next time we have to ask the barista at the Liberty Avenue Crazy Mocha to turn down the music while we're trying to read.