Older people should not do multi-task while crossing the street

Note from the Winnerscience: Beware if you are using mobile phone while crossing a street but beware more if you are in the age group of 59-81. In a research conducted by the researchers at the University of Illinois, found that adults aged 59 to 81 took significantly longer than college students to cross a simulated street while talking on a mobile phone, and their heightened cautiousness in initiating crossing did nothing to improve their safety. They further concluded that the older adults on cell phones also were more likely to fail to cross in the time allotted for the task.

The findings appear in the journal Psychology and Aging (The Journal Psychology and aging is a peer-reviewed journal of the American psychological association. Psychology and Aging publishes original articles on adult development and aging. Such original articles include reports of research that may be applied, biobehavioral, clinical, educational, experimental (laboratory, field, or naturalistic studies), methodological, or psychosocial. It has impact factor of 2.733). Let us discuss how they reached to this conclusion:

Mark Neider, a postdoctoral researcher conducted the research with Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer. In this investigation, 18 undergraduate students (aged 18 to 26 years) and 18 older adults (aged 59 to 81 years) were taken. They crossed simulated streets of varying difficulty while either undistracted, listening to music or conversing on a hands-free cell phone. The researchers found that the older adults were significantly impaired on the most challenging street-crossing tasks while also engaged in a second activity, with the most pronounced impairment occurring during cell phone conversations but the younger adults showed no impairment on dual-task performance.

“It should be noted that we have previously found that younger adults show similar performance decrements, but under much more challenging crossing conditions,” said lead Neider. He further added that, “Combined with our previous work, the current findings suggest that while all pedestrians should exercise caution when attempting to cross a street while conversing on a cell phone, older adults should be particularly careful”.

Note: This article is edited by winnerscience staff and is originally provided by University of Illinois

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