The real reason why we can’t talk and text at the same time

Chances are, you have that one friend who is constantly texting, and completely ignores you as a result. But according to a recent study, maybe you should cut that friend some slack. They’re not trying to be rude, they just might actually not be able to hear you!

The study was conducted by the University College London and their findings were published in The Journal of Neuroscience on Wednesday. The study claims that when focusing on a visual task, such as texting or typing on a computer, you could become deaf to normal volume sounds around you.

The phenomena is referred to as “inattentional deafness,” and is largely a symptom of our multitasking society, so it’s not actually that uncommon. But it does show that we are not all that great at multitasking.

Dr. Maria Chait is a professor of neuroscience at the university who worked with the lead author Kate Molloy on the study, said that we all try to multitask, but certain parts of our brains might only be capable of concentrating on one task at a time. Researchers think that this may mean that our auditory and visual centers may be located in the same part of the brain, which would mean they could only handle one task at a time. And this also would explain the deafness!

As Dr. Maria Chait told The Huffington Post, “Modern environments are designed with the assumption that providing information through multiple senses simultaneously will help us process more information more efficiently. Our work demonstrates that that this assumption is incorrect.”

So the next time your friend seems to be ignoring you while looking at their phone, just scream really loudly. The study found that loud sounds broke through the barrier. Then you’ll have their attention, and you guys can talk about how important it is to make time to unplug these days!

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