distraction Archives — LIRNEasia


Complaints against the negative effects of social media (described as weapons of mass distraction) are not new. They had been leveled against the original social media: the coffee houses that were introduced in the 17th Century. Not everyone approved. As well as complaining that Christians had abandoned their traditional beer in favor of a foreign drink, critics worried that coffeehouses were keeping people from productive work. Among the first to sound the alarm, in 1677, was Anthony Wood, an Oxford academic.

Is mobile use addictive?

Posted on December 18, 2011  /  0 Comments

The way most governments tax mobile use, the answer would seem to be yes. It is treated like cigarettes, a demerit good that imposes negative externalities on society; and is thus subject to additional taxes. The research reported below examined the question of whether mobile use is addictive (albeit in a different context, that of mobile use while driving) and found that no, it was not addictive: Paul Atchley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, conducted research this year and last to determine whether young adults had enough self-control to postpone responding to a text message if they were offered a reward to do so. The idea was to determine whether the lure of the device was so compelling that it would override a larger reward. The research found that young adults would postpone the text.
A big debate seems to be brewing about using mobiles to talk and text while driving at the high speeds possible on American highways. Of course, most of the BOP does not have cars, and in any case it’s only possible to do about 30 kmph on the roads that they use, so this debate has limited relevance to us. In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel. They sought the study based on evidence that such multitasking was a serious and growing threat on America‚Äôs roadways. But such an ambitious study never happened.