Literature Review - Cell Phones

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Literature review - PSY 240
Cell phones have always been blacklisted as the cause to motor vehicle accidents. They are blamed for distracted drivers making errors on the road resulting in accidents. Driving requires a degree of concentration to both the external stimuli of the road, pedestrians, and other drivers, as well as concentration to the continued maintenance of the vehicle within a given driving lane, however, there are distractions to every driver when driving. Whether the distraction is physical, as in holding a cell phone while driving, or auditory, as in having a conversation on a hands-free cell phone, distractions have a monumental effect on the processing of the human brain. In instances where the individual driving is not using a cell phone, the brain is allowed to focus exclusively on the environmental stimuli around them as they drive, allowing for the brain to undergo single processing, where it is processing one event, driving, at a given point in time. When a driver’s brain undergoes dual processing, the driver is using a cell phone while driving, thus forcing the brain to process two sets of stimuli: the environmental stimuli involved in driving, and a supplemental stimuli, a cell phone conversation. Unfortunately, due to the massive effects of these stimuli on the human brain and senses, “the issue of whether we can really talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time, dividing our attention between two demanding tasks… in short, the general answer is, no we really can’t…” (Ashcraft & Radvansky, 2010). The following analysis of several research studies had participants that were divided into two groups: those undergoing single processing (not having a conversation on a hands-free cell phone), and those undergoing dual processing (conversing on a hands-free cell phone while driving in a driving simulator). These studies research the effect of hands-free cell phone use while driving recreationally or due to work-related tasks. Over 100 million drivers engage in the use of a cell phone while driving (Drews & Strayer, 2007). The use of a cell phone while driving may lead to undesirable distractions, which can lead to accidents, sometimes even fatal accidents. However, distracted driving does not result from cell phone usage only. A research article (Stimpson & Wilson, 2010) states , “A fatality was defined as being caused by distraction if a driver-related accident factor was recorded as being emotional, inattentive, or careless, or using a cellular phone, computer, or fax machine, or on-board navigation or heads-up display system.” With an array of factors affecting the focus of drivers, cell phone usage cannot be accurately pinpointed as the cause of accidents. A research proposal will attempt to determine if cell phone usage truly causes a difference in driving amongst individuals. The research question will be, “Whether it is hands-on or hands-free, does cell phone usage affect the driving ability of individuals?” This will also be extended into a null hypothesis(H0), being “There will be no significant difference in driving while using a cell phone and driving without using a cell phone.” The research hypothesis will be, “There will be a significant difference in driving while using a cell phone and driving without using a cell phone.” Evidence from a wide variety of sources has established a link between attention and driving, especially when engaging in cell phone conversations at the same time. Several studies have been conducted to find out if cell phone usage while driving has caused a significant difference in the way it affects driver’s performance on the road and their attention to their surroundings. “Recent estimates suggest that 85% of cell phone owners use their phones while driving” (Strayer, Drews &, Johnston, 2003). Each year more and more drivers are engaging in behaviors such as texting, dialing, web searches, and various types of conversations with their cell phones. The...
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