Study finds mobile phone ringtone affects concentration

So, if you thought it’s just movies or games that could distract your teenager, then here's something that could jolt you, just before examinations commence in March. A study by Washington University in St. Louis has revealed that something as inconsequential as one's phone's ringtone can distract your teenager, especially when they're solving a problem and the ringtone happens to be their favourite. Elaborating further, reportedly, researchers claim that ringtones can affect the concentration of a student, especially if the song, which is playing is a favourite. The trending, rhythmic tune could distract one and hinder concentration, while studying or working on a mathematical problem.

MNP woes! (Image credit: Getty Images)

Ringtone could distract (Image credit: Getty Images)


"Many of us consider a mobile phone ringing in a public place to be an annoying disruption, but this study confirms that these nuisance noises also have real-life impacts. These seemingly innocuous events are not only a distraction, but they have a real influence on learning," lead author, Jill Shelton said.

Researchers put forth an experiment with Shelton posing as a student. Shelton was seated in a crowded, undergraduate psychology lecture at Louisiana State University, and let the phone ring for around 30 seconds. The findings of the experiment revealed that students exposed to the brief ringing scored 25 percent worse in a test, compared to the ones, before the distraction. They scored low, even though the content was covered by the professor before the phone rang and projected as text slide show throughout the distraction.


Phones ringing in public places, like movie theatres annoys most of us, and we would prefer to have it on the vibrating mode, instead. But for complete concentration, especially while one is solving mathematical a problem, the phone might as well be kept at bay. For students, it could be a distraction and take their minds off the problem they are solving, for seconds to minutes, if the ringtone comes across as their favourite, keeping in mind the upcoming exams in March.        

Published Date: Feb 17, 2012 04:47 pm | Updated Date: Feb 17, 2012 04:47 pm