If the sight of a grown man riding a unicycle dressed as a clown is the kind of nightmare scenario that makes you dive for the Paxil, then it's best to avoid Bellingham for a while. As The New York Times health blog Well explains, Dr. Ira E. Hyman Jr., a professor in Western Washington's psychology department, has a theory. Dr. Hyman thinks talking on cell phones promotes "inattentional blindness," defined as looking at surroundings but not having them register.
It doesn't matter how many cell phones you're using. If this guy comes flying by you won't forget.
To test his theory, Dr. Hyman did what anyone with a Ph. D. would do: He found a student who had access to both a clown suit and a unicycle (and a dank basement with the decomposing corpses of a dozen co-eds, we're guessing) and set him loose upon the quad. The results:
"Among pedestrians who were listening to music or walking alone, one in three mentioned that they had just seen a clown on a unicycle. Nearly 60 percent of people who were walking with a friend mentioned the clown. But among people who had been talking on the cellphone, only 8 percent spontaneously remembered the clown."So talking on a cellphone is a distraction. Who woulda thunk? Dr. Hyman's next theory: Reading promotes literacy. For this he'll need two lengths of rope, a Jason mask and a butane torch. Any volunteers?