Richard G. Petty, MD

More on the Perils of Multi-Tasking

I have talked before about the perils of multi-tasking and partial attention.

New research by Professor David Strayer at the University of Utah has confirmed previous research indicating that speaking on a mobile phone is at least as dangerous as driving while over the legal alcohol limit. The research is published in the journal Human Factors. Cell phones are so distracting because of a phenomenon called "inattention blindness," where the drivers enter a kind of "virtual reality" with the person they’re talking to. In the research, the drivers who talked on phones remembered half as many of the objects they looked at compared to those who were driving without talking on phones. Furthermore, the drivers did not even realize that they weren’t really "seeing" everything in front of them on the road: they thought they were driving perfectly safely. So it is likely that using a cell phone – even a hands free model – is considerably more distracting even than eating or drinking while driving.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can safely juggle driving and your cell phone: you may drop one or the other.

“Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.”
— Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist and Philosopher, 1817-1862)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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