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Cell Phone Distraction, Human Factors, and Litigation - Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc.

Cell Phone Distraction, Human Factors, and Litigation

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  • Editor: T. Scott Smith, Ph.D.; Contributors: Grant Chiasson, B.S., Patrick L. Dunn, Ph.D., Chelsea Schaefer, B.S., Mary Sciaraffa, Ph.D., Elizabeth R. Smith, R.N., M.S.N.
  • ISBN 10: 1-936360-39-X
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-936360-39-0
  • Copyright Date Ed: May 6, 2016
  • Pages: 464
  • Binding Information: Casebound
  • Size: 6 ✕ 9 Inches (US)

Cell phones, straightforwardly, represent one of the utmost significant technological and cultural advances since fire. It is difficult for anyone to emerge upon any public location without hearing someone talking on their cell phone or observing someone texting reverently. While cell phones offer easy an entree to communication, the technology likewise compromises psychological, communication, and cognitive realities.

Cell phones represent a cognitive distraction. That is, cell phone represent a reduced ability for individuals to pay attention, process information, and then make decisions. Some ongoing behaviors associated with cell phone users have parallel features of addiction. Individuals have intense feelings of elation and despair concomitant with receiving voice calls and also text messages. Most people are not satisfied with checking messages or missed calls once or even twice an hour, but rather must check their cell phones four, five, or six times hourly, perhaps even more. If a cell phone is lost, feelings of uneasiness, despair, and panic often continue. When a cell phone call or text message is received, individuals have derived physiological symptoms, such as increases in blood pressure and heart rate. People spend prodigious amounts of time adding applications to their cell phones.

Considering the impact of cell phones on culture itself, it may be reasonably assumed that cell phone use and distraction will similarly continue to impact the field of law across many dimensions.

As the general public and attorneys begin to contemplate upon the research and furthermore evaluate cases in the context of cell phone distraction demands, respectfully, guidance is needed to both prompt further investigation and also critically examine case credibility that may pivot on the understanding of the role of cell phone distraction on case particulars. Without an understanding of the historical and cognitive foundations of cell phone distractions, attorneys are little more than guessing or estimating how this medium may affect their case. This book and applicable arguments will help attorneys understand the potential impact of cell phone distraction on plaintiff and defendant behavior. For the general reader, this book will furthermore offer a historical framework and then serve as an impetus for further exploration.

Topics Include

  • Cognition
  • Driving
  • Failures of Visual Awareness
  • Human Factors and Social Interactions
  • Developmental Aspects
  • Distracted Walking
  • Nursing Performance
  • Litigation
  • Jury Selection and Education
  • Future Directions


Table of Contents


Section 1: Introduction

Chapter 1A: Introduction
1A.1 Defining Cell Phone Distraction
1A.2 Psychological Addiction
1A.3 Ironic Loss of Communication via Cell Phone Distractions
1A.4 Cognitive Distraction
1A.5 Legal Implications
1A.6 Guidelines for Reading the Present Book
A. Historical Framework
B. Developmental Considerations
C. Projections of Future Research
D. Court Development Strategies
1A.7 Conclusions

Chapter 1B: Main Questions
1B.1 Human Factors
A. Diversity of Interests
B. Human Communication
C. Memory and Sensations
D. Diversion from Strictly Driving-Based Research
1B.2 Identifying the Main Questions
A. Does Cell phone Distraction Affect Memory?
B. Does Cell phone Distraction Affect Decision Making?
C. Is Memory for Someone Who Sees or Reviews an Event While Distracted “Worthless” in Comparison to a Non-Distracted Person?
D. Can Cell Phones be Eliminated from Cars to Completely Remove this Distraction?
E. As the Functionality of Cell Phones Increases, Will this Make Us Less Dependent on Biological Memory Systems and More Dependent on External Devices for Primary Memory Regulation?
F. Does Hands-free Technology Eliminate or Reduce the Level of Distraction?
G. Is Memory from a Non-Distracted Person “Perfect?”
H. How Much Does Memory Differ Between a Non-Distracted and Distracted Person?
I. Does Cell phone Distraction Impair Parenting?
J. Does Cell phone Distraction Affect Younger and Older Persons Differently?
K. Are Younger Individuals More Accustomed and Comfortable With Emerging Cell phone Technology Than Older Adults?
L. Will Liability be Redirected For Harmed Pedestrians With the Increasing Utilization of Cell Phones on a Continuous Basis?
1B.3 Summary

Chapter 1C: History
1C.1 Bandwidth
1C.2 Transmissions of Signals
1C.3 The Radio
1C.4 World War I Applications
1C.5 Cell Phone in Public Media, Early 1900s
1C.6 Public Switched Telephones
1C.7 Public Initiatives
1C.8 Cell Phone in Public Media, Mid-1930s
1C.9 Military Applications, 1930s and 1940s
1C.10 Automobile-Based Phones, Mid-1940s
1C.11 Making the Cell Phone More Transportable
1C.12 Cell Phone as Social Symbol
1C.13 Diversity of Purpose and Changing Public Expectations
1C.14 Present Status
Recommended Readings

Chapter 1D: Cell Phone Use in Contemporary Society
1D.1 Relevancy
1D.2 Contemporary versus Antiquated Data
1D.3 Goals of the Present Chapter
1D.4 Selection of Resources
1D.5 Device Ownership
1D.6 Device Ownership Over Time
1D.7 Cell Phone Activities
A. Snapshot Cell Phone Use
B. Cell Phone Use across Time
1D.8 Ownership Demographics
A. Sex
B. Race
C. Educational Level
D. Community Type
E. Household Income
1D.9 Conclusion

Chapter 1E: Interpreting Research
1E.1 Necessary Research Development Steps
1E.2 Defining “Research”
1E.3 Limitations of the Scientific Method
1E.4 Identification of Research Methodologies
1E.5 Identifying the Right Method for the Right Question
1E.6 General Research Concepts
A. Identification and Manipulation of Variables
B. Conclusions and Proof
C. Internal and External Validity
D. Hypotheses or Research Questions
1E.7 Locating Relevant Research
A. Reading the Articles
1E.8 Understanding Statistical Analysis
A. Descriptive Statistics
B. The Normal Curve and its Characteristics
C. Inferential Statistics
D. Standard Error
1E.9 Tests of Significance
1E.10 Type I and Type II Errors
1E.11 Selecting Applicable Statistics
1E.12 Implementing Research into Forensic Reports and Testimony
1E.13 Challenging the Research Cited by an Expert in Making Conclusions

Chapter 1F: Selecting Expert Witnesses
1F.1 Identifying an Expert
A. Evaluation of Expertise
B. Evaluation of General Needs
C. Evaluate Impairment of the Driver
D. Loss of Productivity
E. Eyewitness Testimony
1F.2 Areas of Expert Knowledge in Cell Phone Distraction Cases
1F.3 Cognitive Psychologists or Scientists
A. Attention
B. Memory
C. Perception
D. Language
E. Metacognition
1F.4 Developmental Psychology
1F.5 Industrial and Organizational Psychology
1F.6 Rehabilitation Counseling
1F.7 Ergonomics
1F.8 Summary

Section 2: Cognition

Chapter 2A: Foundations of Cognitive Science
2A.1 Psychophysics and Applicable Thresholds
A. In Summary
B. Applications for the Eyewitness
C. Applications for the Expert Witness
2A.2 Attention as a General Construct
A. Applications for the Eyewitness
B. Voluntary and Involuntary Attention
C. Application toward the Eyewitness
2A.3 Inattentional Blindness
2A.4 Divided Attention and Multi-Tasking
2A.5 Distracted Drivers Require Longer Times to Complete Driving Tasks
2A.6 Summary for Attentional Demands
A. Applications for the Eyewitness
B. Applications for the Expert Witness
2A.7 Memory
A. Defining Memory as a Cognitive Construct
B. Models of Memory
C. Active Witnesses
D. Theories of Forgetting
E. Aging and Memory
F. In Summary
2A.8 Applications for the Eyewitness
2A.9 Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 2B: Original Research: False Memory
2B.1 Defining False Memories
2B.2 Historical Development
2B.3 Theoretical Aspects
A. Development of a Memory
B. Fuzzy Trace Theory
C. Activation Monitoring
2B.4 Effects of Cell Phone Distraction on True and False Recognition
2B.5 Factors that Affect False Memories
A. Developmental Aspects
B. Emotional Content
2B.6 Recommendations Regarding an Attorney’s Selection of Expert Witnesses
2B.7 Conclusions
Suggested Readings and References
DRM Paradigm
Flashbulb Memory
Fuzzy Trace Theory
George Bush and False Memory
Weapon Focus Effect

Chapter 2C: Original Research: Reconstruction Memory
2C.1 Rationale for Study
2C.2 Identification of Experimental Approach
2C.3 Experimental Questions
2C.4 Method
A. Participants
B. Stimulus Materials
C. Procedure
D. Results
2C.5 Discussion
2C.6 Conclusion

Chapter 2D: Original Student Research: Effects of Cell Phone Distraction on Geometric Planning with Applications to Collegiate Classroom
2D.1 Foundation for the Present Study
2D.2 Theoretical Frameworks
2D.3 Ecological Applications
2D.4 Methodology
2D.5 Results
2D.6 Discussion

Section 3: Driving

Chapter 3A: Driving
3A.1 Defining the Construct
3A.2 Identification of the “Distractors”
A. Visual Distractions
B. Physical Distractions
C. Cognitive Distractions
D. Three Forms of Distraction
3A.3 Age Distribution of Distractions
3A.4 Additional Distribution of Distracted Drivers
3A.5 Scientific Foundations of Distraction
A. Initial Research
B. Brain Anatomy and Physiology
3A.6 Gorillas, Basketball and Inattentional Blindness
3A.7 Cognitive Load
3A.8 Listening is not Easily Performed
3A.9 Drunk Driving Argument
3A.10 Multi-Tasking
3A.11 Cell phone Distraction and the Law
A. Initiation of Cell phone Legislation
B. Enhancement of Existing Cell Phone Laws
C. Examining the Necessity of Laws
D. Singular Federal Agreement on Cell Phone Bans
3A.12 Public Education
A. Celebrity Activism
B. Publicity Films
C. Novel Technologies to Curtail Concurrent Cell Phone Use and Driving
3A.13 Conclusion

Chapter 3B: Hands-Free Debate
3B.1 Recognition that Problem Existed
3B.2 Attempt to Resolve the Problem
3B.3 Poor Understanding of the Problem Itself, or the “Trifecta Problem”
3B.4 Research Proposing Problem Not Solved by Hands-Free Availability
3B.5 Reflection on Applicable Studies
3B.6 The Meta-Analysis
3B.7 Current Perception and Opinion about Hands-Free Cell Phone Use
A. Selection of an Expert
3B.8 Attorney Applications
A. Be Prepared to Respond to the Argument
B. Present the Research, but Present it in Understandable Chunks
C. Attitudes Favorable Defense, Research Favorable to Plaintiff
3B.9 Conclusion

Chapter 3C: Federal Initiatives
3C.1 Essential Statistics
3C.2 Applicable Research
3C.3 Federal Mandates Regarding Illegal use of Cell Phones while Driving
3C.4 Awareness
3C.5 Enforcement through State Initiatives
3C.6 Finnish Study: Will Laws Actually Change Behaviors?
3C.7 Conclusion

Chapter 3D: State-by-State Restrictions on Cell Phone Use while Driving in the United States
3D.1 Regulatory Laws
3D.2 Preemption Laws
3D.3 Driver Compliance with Hand-Held Phone Use and Driving Bans
3D.4 Summary Statistics
A. Hand-Held Cell Phone Use
B. All Cell Phone Use
C. Text Messaging
D. Preemption Laws
3D.5 California “Air Buds” Law
3D.6 Conclusion

Section 4: Vision

Chapter 4A: Failures of Visual Awareness
4A.1 Two Main Failures of Visual Awareness Associated with Cell Phone Distraction
A. Loss of Field of View (Loss of Driving Acuity and Increase in Accident Propensity)
B. Loss of Attentional Allocation to Items within Field of View (Loss of Acquisition of Knowledge to Items that are Important)
4A.2 Pending Chapters

Chapter 4B: Change Blindness
4B.1 Historical Framework
4B.2 Modern Research Directions
4B.3 Physiological Foundations
4B.4 Factors that Affect Change Blindness
4B.6 Practical Implications
4B.7 Conclusions

Chapter 4C: Visual Masking
4C.1 Factors Impacting Visual Masking
4C.2 Applications of Visual Masking
Suggested Readings

Chapter 4D: Inattentional Blindness
4D.1 Origination of Inattentional Blindness Research
4D.2 Initiation of Additional Studies
4D.3 Initiation of Cell phone-Specific Studies
4D.4 Unanswered Questions in Inattentional Blindness
4D.5 Attorney Applications
A. Cell Phone Distractions Tend to be Different than Other Car-Based Stimuli
B. Task of Walking Varies When the Walker is Distracted by a Cell Phone
C. Inattentional Blindness Consistently Shown in Driver-Simulation Studies
D. Distracted Persons Oblivious to Other Distractions with Concurrent Cell Phone Distraction
4D.6 Conclusions

Section 5: Human Factors and Social Interactions

Chapter 5A: Cell Phone Addiction
5A.1 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Features for Substance Abuse Disorder
5A.2 Psychological Predictors
5A.3 Examinations in the Literature
5A.4 Selected and Identified Treatments
5A.5 Communifaking
5A.6 Future Directions and Conclusions

Chapter 5B: Ineffective Parenting and Cell Phone Distractions
5B.1 Parenting Defined
5B.2 Parenting Styles
A. Authoritative Parenting
B. Authoritarian Parenting
C. Permissive and Uninvolved Parents
5B.3 Attention
A. Multi-Tasking
B. Hands-Free Cell Phone Technology
C. Simultaneous Attention
D. Clinical Models
5B.4 Childhood Neglect
5B.5 Conclusion

Section 6: Developmental Aspects of Cell Phone Distraction

Chapter 6A: Mobile Media and Young Children
6A.1 Children’s Access and Ownership of Mobile Media
6A.2 Mobile Media Use Patterns Amongst Children
6A.3 For What Purpose Does the Parent Provide Mobile Media to Children
6A.4 Differences Amongst Families That Provide Access to Mobile Media
6A.5 Impact Of Mobile Media Usage On Childhood Experiences
6A.6 Recommendations For The Use Of Mobile Media With Children
6A.7 Conclusion
6A.8 The Future of Today’s Youngest Generation

Chapter 6B: Childhood Cognition and Eyewitness Testimony
6B.1 Attention
6B.2 False Memory
6B.3 Weapon-Focus Effect
6B.4 Prior Knowledge
6B.5 Stereotypes
6B.6 Memory Retention
A. Memory Strength
B. Script Knowledge
C. Memory Storage Capacity
6B.7 Reporting an Event
6B.8 Communication and Linguistic Skills
A. Communication
B. Linguistic Skills
6B.9 Memory Vulnerability
A. Intelligence
B. Mental Health
C. Source and Reality Monitoring
D. Suggestibility
E. Individual Differences
6B.10 Conclusion
Source Monitoring
Reality Monitoring
Childhood Cognition
False Memory and DRM
False Memory and Children
Weapon Focus Effect
Children and Stereotypes
Individual Differences and Memory and Children

Chapter 6C: Emerging Adulthood (College Students) and Collegiate Performance
6C.1 What are People’s Perceptions of Cell Phones as a Problem in the Classroom?
6C.2 Does Personality of Students Affect Whether or Not they Use Cell Phones in the Classroom?
6C.3 Do Behavioral Patterns Affect Cell Phone Use or Acceptance of Cell Phone Use in the Classroom?
6C.4 Are Ringing Cell Phones Really a Distraction in the Classroom? Or, are they Really No Big Deal?
6C.5 Will Cell Phones Replace the Traditional “Survey” in The Collegiate Environment, Further Extending Cell Phone Use in Another Academic Realm?
6C.6 Beyond Cell Phones, Does Internet Use in the Classroom Affect Classroom Learning?
6C.7 Do Students that Use Their Cell Phones During Class Generally Expect to Earn Lower Grades or Have Poorer Performance In The Classroom?
6C.8 What Percentage of Learning Performance Do Students Generally “Expect To Lose” if They Use Their Cell Phones in the Classroom?
6C.9 Are “Smarter” Students Immune to the Negative Effects of Cell Phone Use on Class Performance?
6C.10 Can Phones Offer Some Benefit in the Classroom, Particularly in the Context of Learning Enhancement?
6C.11 Conclusion

Section 7: Distracted Walking

Chapter 7A: Distracted Walking
7A.1 Occurrence of Accidents
7A.2 Current Research
A. Laboratory Studies
B. Observational Studies
7A.3 Occurrence of Safety Risks and Distracted Walking
7A.4 Legal Implications
A. Memory Impairment
B. Distracted Walkers and Liability
C. Drivers Implicated in Distracted Walker Accidents
7A.5 Summary and Conclusions

Section 8: Nursing Performance

Chapter 8A: Nursing and Critical Thinking Skills
8A.1 Nursing as a Profession
8A.2 Critical Thinking Skills
A. Exploring
B. Analyzing
C. Prioritizing
D. Explaining
E. Deciding
F. Evaluating
8A.3 Case Example #1
8A.4 Case Example #2
8A.5 Suggested Cell Phone Policies in the Nursing Worksite
A. Recognize an “All-or-None” Policy Most Probably Will Not Work
B. Patient Care Must Always be a Priority
C. Critically Examine Allowance of “High Distraction” Mediums
D. Define which Features of Cell Phone Use May Enhance Patient Care
E. Seek Employee Feedback, but Focus on Patient Care when Developing Policies
8A.6 Conclusion

Chapter 8B: Nursing and Social Media
8B.1 Confidentiality and Privacy
8B.2 Potential Consequences
8B.3 Myths and Misunderstandings
8B.4 Conclusions

Chapter 8C: Patient Safety: Health Care Distraction Study in Pennsylvania
8C.1 Generalized Results
8C.2 Identification of Who Made the Associated Errors
8C.3 Source of Distraction
8C.4 Identified Interruptions and Implications for Clinicians
8C.5 Risk Reduction Strategies
8C.6 Conclusions

Section 9: Litigation and Cell Phone Distraction

Chapter 9A: Litigating an Impaired Employee Performance Case
9A.1 Various Types of Termination
9A.2 How Does Cell Phone Distraction Interplay with Termination
A. Is There an Existing Policy on Cell Phone Use in Workplace?
B. Is There an Existing Policy on Social Media and Workplace?
C. Is There a Quantitative Measure of Employee Performance?
D. Is Cell Phone Distraction a “Secondary” Feature of Employee Performance?
E. Was Termination “Voluntary” or “Involuntary” and Did Someone “Refuse” to Reduce Cell Phone Use?
F. Was Termination Due to “Downsizing” and “Cell Phone Use” Given as an Excuse?
G. Is “Impaired Capability based on Cell Phone Use” Based on Policy, Empirical Evidence, or Subjective Judgment?
9A.3 Conclusions

Chapter 9B: Litigating an Impaired Parent Case
9B.1 Scenarios
9B.2 Viewpoint: Cell Phone Distraction Harms Parenting
9B.3 Viewpoint: Cell Phone Distraction Simply Reflects a Modern Tool
9B.4 Additional Commentary
9B.5 Final Observations and Conclusions
Applicable Literature

Section 10: Jury Education

Chapter 10A: Driver Characteristics
10A.1 Case Scenario
10A.2 Differences in Distraction-Prone and Distraction-Adverse Drivers
10A.3 Critical Examination of Jury Features
10A.4 Conclusion

Chapter 10B: Phone-Related Distracted Behaviors
10B.1 Ownership of Electronic Devices
10B.2 Cell Phone Ownership by Driving Frequency
10B.3 Frequency of Answering a Phone When Driving
10B.4 Reasons for Answering a Phone While Driving
10B.5 Behaviors Displayed After Answering a Cell Phone Call While Driving
10B.6 Willingness to Make Cell Phone Calls When Driving
10B.7 Reason for Making Cell Phone Call While Driving
10B.8 Method of Dialing Phone Number While Driving
10B.9 Changes in Driving Behavior after Talking On a Cell Phone While Driving
10B.10 Likelihood to Send or Receive Text Messages While Driving
10B.11 Reasons That Text Messages are Sent While Driving
10B.12 Methods That Text Messages are Sent While Driving
10B.13 Changes in Driving Behavior When Sending Text Messages
10B.14 Conclusion

Chapter 10C: Perceptions of Distracted Driver Safety
10C.1 Case Scenario
10C.2 Conclusions

Section 11: Future Directions

Chapter 11A: Future Directions
11A.1 Psychological Research
A. Methodological Advancements
B. Continuation of Computerized Driving Simulator Research
C. Observation of Real-Time Distractions
D. Utilization of Neuroimaging Techniques
E. Recognition of Cell Phone Distraction as an Addiction Model
F. Differentiation Across Cell Phone Mediums
G. Treatment Protocols
H. Alternative Means to Divert Dependence
I. Social Interaction
J. Memory Variances across Distracted and Non-Distracted Eyewitnesses
K. Examine Changes in Range of Attention
11A.2 Sociological Research
A. Attitudes towards Cell Phones
B. Social Anxiety
C. Environmental Differences
D. Social Outcomes Associated with Cell Phone Use
E. Healthcare Utilization
11A.3 Biological Research
A. Social Isolation
B. Eye and Ear Contact
C. Sleeping Pattern Changes
D. Morbidity
E. Mortality
F. Marriage and Cohabitation
11A.4 Conclusion

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