It has long been believed that the deepest, darkest, hottest circle of hell is reserved for people who answer their cell phones on the quiet ride car. A new study indicates that that belief is probably true.
The authors of PLOS ONE's "The Effects of Cell Phone Conversations on the Attention and Memory of Bystanders" examined the distracting nature of other people's phone conversations. They exposed people to one-sided phone conversations and two-sided discussions. Their results indicate that your phone call is hella annoying to everyone near you.
As predicted, participants exposed to the one-sided conversation did report being more distracted by the conversation than those who overheard the two-sided conversation. In addition, those who overheard the one-sided conversation had a more accurate performance on the recognition task, and were more confident and accurate in their responses to words from the conversation.
The one-sided conversation was rated more invasive, more annoying, more distracting, and more noticeable. Validation! Consider this study science's way of explaining that you shouldn't be talking on the phone while you're in line at Starbucks or on a bus or a train or pretty much any time you're not entirely alone.