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Elderly Struggle to Cross Street While On Cell Phones

Crossing the street while talking on a cell phone seems a commonplace activity in this day and age, but new research suggests it is not as easy for the elderly to do as it is for young adults.  The University of Illinois has released a new study, which indicates that older people find it difficult to keep their attention on both of the tasks at hand. 

“The ability to manage two tasks concurrently, or dual-task, has grown increasingly important as attention demanding technologies such as cell phones, personal music players and navigations systems have come to pervade everyday behavior,” quotes a new study.  This has been published on the website of the journal known as Psychology and Ageing.  The researchers staged an experiment to determine how well people in different age groups were able to cross a busy virtual road in a thirty-second time period while also using devices such as cell phones or iPods.  Older people were found to be significantly less able to accomplish the task in the time allotted, with the study finding that they spent more time considering the traffic while still standing on the sidewalk.

Art Kramer, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois who also served as the co-author of the study, says that the results point less to the effects of technology and more to the fact that older people find it much more difficult to multi task in general.  “It’s not just with technology, it’s pretty well with anything,” he says.