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听别人电话聊天为何让你心烦意乱
Overheard Chats Distract More if They’re by Phone

If you have just read the same paragraph 12 times because the person sitting next to you on the bus is chatting on her cellphone, feel free to show her this: scientists have found another piece of evidence that overheard cellphone conversations are far more distracting and annoying than a dialogue between two people nearby.
如果你坐在公交车上,将同一段文字反复阅读了12遍,全因为身旁的那位乘客一直在打电话,你可以将这篇文章给她看:科学家们发现了一项新证据,证明无意间听到别人用电话聊天,远比听到旁边两人的对话要更让人心绪不宁。

In a study published Wednesday in the journal PLoS One, college students who were asked to complete anagrams while a nearby researcher talked on her cellphone were more irritated and distracted — and far more likely to remember the contents of the conversation — than students who worked on the same puzzles while the same conversation was conducted by two people in the room.
这项周三发表在《公共科学图书馆》(PLoS ONE)的研究安排大学生解字谜,结果参试者认为,如果旁边安排一位研究人员打电话,会比旁边有两个人聊天更让人心烦意乱,也更有可能记住谈话的内容——虽然无论是打电话还是对话,聊天的内容都是一样的。

The study is the latest in a growing body of research on why cellphones rank so high on the list of modern irritants. Mounting evidence suggests that the habits encouraged by mobile technology — namely, talking in public to someone who is not there — are tailor made for hijacking the cognitive functions of bystanders.
有越来越多的研究开始探讨为何手机在现代化的刺激物品中排名如此靠前,这项研究就是其中最新的成果。层出不穷的证据表明,由移动技术催生的习惯——也就是在大庭广众之下,对着一个不在现场的人讲话——简直可谓量身定做,用来劫持旁观者的认知能力。

One reason, said Veronica V. Galván, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of San Diego and the lead author of the study, is the brain’s desire to fill in the blanks.
这项研究的第一作者、圣迭戈大学(University of San Diego)心理学助理教授维罗尼卡·V·加尔万(Veronica V. Galván)说,其中一个原因在于大脑填充空白的欲望。

“If you only hear one person speaking, you’re constantly trying to place that part of the conversation in context,” Dr. Galván said. “That’s naturally going to draw your attention away from whatever else you’re trying to do.”
“如果你只听到一个人在说话,你会不断想要将这部分谈话内容置入到谈话语境中去,”加尔万博士说,“不管你想要做些什么,这都会自然而然将你的注意力给吸引过去。”

It is also a control thing, Dr. Galván and her colleagues said. When people are trapped next to a one-sided conversation — known nowadays as a “halfalogue” — their anger rises in the same way it does in other situations where they are not free to leave, like waiting for a train.
加尔万和她的同事们说,这个问题还跟控制力有关。当人们坠入一场单方谈话的陷阱边时——现在人们称之为“半边对话”(halfalogue)——就会跟身处无法自由脱身的其他情况,比如等候火车一样,心中的怒火雄雄燃起。

“If you’re waiting in line and someone behind you is talking on a cellphone, you’re kind of stuck there,” she said, “and you can have a psychological stress response.”
“假如你正排着队,身后有人在打电话,你就等于是被绑在那儿了,”她说,“因此会出现精神压力反应。”

Not that you have to feel stressed to find cellphones disruptive. Students in a 2010 Cornell study had trouble completing modest tasks, like tracking a dot on a screen with a cursor, while listening to a tape of a one-sided conversation, even though they knew the conversation was the focus of the study.
并不是说只有在感受到压力的情况下,才会觉得手机聊天会带来破坏力。2010年康奈尔(Cornell)大学的一项研究发现,受试的学生在聆听单方谈话时,甚至难以完成简单的任务,比如用手中鼠标追踪显示器上的小点,尽管他们知道这项研究的核心就是聊天的影响。

The 149 students in Dr. Galván’s study did not know the side conversations were part of the research; 15 students who did figure it out were not counted in the results. And while their ability to solve the anagrams was not noticeably impeded, the students listening to the halfalogues scored higher when rating themselves on a “distractibility scale.” They also said that they remembered more specifics from the conversation, which was the same script in both cases (a theater professor was enlisted to facilitate the deception).
在加尔万的研究中,参试的149名学生并不知道单方谈话是研究的一部分内容;猜出了试验意图的15名学生最后未被统计到结果中去。一些学生解字谜的能力并未出现显著降低,但这些聆听半边对话的学生在“注意力分散量表”时,给自己评的分数更高。他们还表示自己记住了旁人谈话的更多细节,在电话聊天和双人对谈中,谈话者都使用了同样的脚本(一位戏剧学教授友情参与了这场小小的骗局)。

The brain simply can’t ignore a stream of desultory new information, said Lauren Emberson, the postdoctoral associate at the University of Rochester, New York, who led the Cornell study when she was working there.
劳伦·埃姆伯森(Lauren Emberson)是纽约罗切斯特大学(University of Rochester)的博士后研究员,当年在康奈尔大学工作时,是那项手机聊天研究的领导者,她说,大脑就是无法忽略一串断断续续的新信息。

“Our brains are set up to focus on things that are novel or unexpected,” Ms. Emberson said. “When you’re listening to one half of a conversation, every new utterance is a surprise, so you’re forced to constantly predict what’s going to happen next.”
“我们的大脑原本就会把焦点放在新奇或出乎意料的事物上,”埃姆伯森说,“当你聆听到半边对话时,旁边人发出的每一个新词都构成了一个意外,所以你要被迫不断预测接下来对方会说什么。”

Because it is next to impossible to tune out a nearby cellphone conversation, people subjected to them often believe — incorrectly — that the talker is being abnormally loud, according to findings from a 2004 study from the University of York, England. Sixty-four commuters were exposed to the same conversation at different volume levels, half as a cellphone call and half as a face-to-face talk. On average, the commuters thought the mobile phone talkers were louder, even when they were not.
兀自不听旁边人打电话是个近乎于不可能的任务,因此,被迫“听墙角”的人往往会认为打电话的人声音大得出奇——而这种想法往往都是错误的。这项研究是在2004年,由英国的约克大学(University of York)进行的,64名乘客被迫听了同一段对话,半数听的是电话聊天,半数是面对面谈话,音量大小各不相同。总体来说,乘客们认为打电话的人声音更响,但当时的情况并非如此。

“When you stare at a light, it seems brighter,” said Dr. Emberson. “And when you can’t not pay attention to a noise, it seems louder.”
“当你凝视灯光时,它看起来会更加明亮,”埃姆伯森博士说,“而在你无法摆脱一种噪音时,它也会显得更嘈杂。”

That sense of being subjected to something unavoidable and unpleasant has turned public cellphone conversations into a flash point.
在公众场合拿手机聊天,会带给旁人无法逃遁的不悦感,这种行为因此成为了引爆点。

“When you are overhearing some stranger’s inane cellphone conversation, your brain has to work a lot harder at what you’re doing, and it interferes with your ability to focus on other things,” said Amy Alkon, a syndicated columnist who wrote a book about manners called “I See Rude People.” “It gives you what I call a ‘neural itching.’ ”
“当你无意中听到陌生人正在讲着无聊的电话时,你的大脑必须要更努力地运转,而这会干扰你专注于其他事物的能力,”专栏作家艾米·阿尔肯(Amy Alkon)说。她曾著有一本关于礼仪的书,名为《我看到了粗鲁的人》(I See Rude People)。“这会给你一种感觉,我称之为‘神经瘙痒’。”

Though surveys have repeatedly placed public cellphone conversations at the top of Americans’ pet peeves, there are indications that the problem is easing — or, perhaps, that people are starting to accept that all this yakking is the new reality. In 2006, 82 percent of Americans said they were at least occasionally annoyed by cellphone conversations in public. In 2012, that number dropped to 74 percent.
尽管民意调查不断将在公共场合打电话列为美国人最不能忍受的事情,不过有迹象显示,这个问题开始渐渐缓解了——又或者是人们开始接受了这个现象,视其为新的现实。2006年,82%的美国人说,他们感到受到了公共场合电话闲聊的骚扰,至少偶尔有这种感觉。2012年,这个数字降到了74%。

Ms. Alkon attributes the drop to a rising rejection of the behavior. “People are starting to recognize that it’s really rude to force other people to listen to your conversation,” she said, “especially in places where you’re trapped, like a train or a doctor’s office.”
阿尔肯女士认为,数字降低跟越来越多的人开始避免这种行为有关。“人们开始意识到,强迫别人听你的对话内容,这样做非常不礼貌,”她说,“在那种无处逃避的地方,比如火车或医生的诊室里,情况尤其如此。”

It is a feeling familiar to anyone who has tried to read, work or even just relax on public transportation. Geoff Huntting, a marketing executive from New Canaan, Conn., says his hour-plus commute to Manhattan is often tarnished by a cellphone talker.
对于想要在公共交通工具上阅读、工作或仅仅是放松的人来说,这种感觉似曾相识。杰夫·亨廷(Geoff Huntting)是一位市场主管,家住康涅狄格州新迦南市,每天要坐一个多小时车去曼哈顿工作,他说在路上,他的情绪常常受煲电话粥的人影响。

Like the students in Dr. Galván’s study, he said he could still remember the details of an annoying halfalogue he overheard more than a month ago. “This girl in her late 20s was complaining to her boyfriend or significant other — at full volume for the entire ride — about this other girl at work who was trying to score points with the boss or something,” said Mr. Huntting, 38
跟加尔万博士研究中的学生一样,亨廷说,他也能记起一个多月前无意间听到了半边对话的内容细节。“那个年纪应该奔三的女人在跟她的男友或者其他什么重要的人抱怨——声音大到整个车厢的人都能听到——她念叨的是她的同事,对方好像想要在老板跟前抢功,”38岁的亨廷说。

To be fair, he said, the train is also frequently filled with loud, intoxicated Yankee fans heading home after a game. But he somehow finds it easier to tune out those conversations.
他说,说句公道话,这班车也常常挤满了大声嚷嚷、灌多了酒的扬基队酒迷,看完比赛坐车回家。但他不知何故,总觉得自己能更轻易地将这些说话的声音给隔绝出去。

“It’s loud, but it’s less annoying than hearing this on-and-off complaining about something you can’t put into context,” he said. “It’s not even a conversation — it’s prattle, it’s just noise.”
“他们的声音很大,但比起听到旁边的人断断续续抱怨着什么你没法弄清楚究竟的事情,倒是不那么惹人厌了,”他说,“这甚至算不上聊天——就是扯淡,就是噪音。”

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