The paper investigates the effects of phone use (talking, texting, and listening to music) on the street-crossing behaviours of pedestrians and their inattentional blindness in Taiwan. Recent handsets with touchscreens, as well as more advanced features including multimedia, and mobile applications (apps), exacerbate problems relating to cognitive distraction and reduced situation awareness. A controlled field study using video cameras was conducted for observing pedestrians’ crossing behaviours (e.g. crossing time, sudden stops, looking both ways before crossing, and disobeying traffic signals). Pedestrians were classified into two groups: experimental group (talking, texting, and listening to music) and control group (no phone use). Pedestrians’ inattentional blindness was examined by evaluating whether they saw and heard an unusual object (i.e. a clown) nearby. The results indicate that the proportions of unsafe crossing behaviours (e.g. sudden stops, disobeying traffic signals, and not looking both ways before crossing) were higher among distracted individuals and more pronounced among those using instant-messaging apps. These instant-message app users were the least likely to see the clown, and music listeners were the least likely to hear the horn that the clown was honking. Contributing factors to unsafe behaviours include being a student, having a phone screen of 5 inches or larger, and having unlimited 3G Internet access. Texting message via apps was the leading factor on unsafe crossing behaviours of pedestrians and their inattentional blindness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences(all)
- Human-Computer Interaction