Study: People who walk and text have a different pattern

Study: People Who Walk And Text Have A Different Pattern

People who walk and text at the same time adapt to their surroundings. In fact, they adapt quite well. Researchers from University of Bath and Texas A&M have discovered that using a smartphone while walking significantly changes the patterns of behavior people employ—step by step.

According to the study, people who text while walking shorten their step length, reduce their step frequency, increase the amount of time both feet touch the ground and increase their obstacle clearance height, especially for stairs.

These changes in behavior protect users from accidents. In fact, the gait alteration pattern is so effective that researchers found no statistically significant likelihood of increased risk for running into stuff.

Polly McGuigan, one of the lead authors of the study, noted, "We found that our participants were very good at adapting the way they walk to limit their risk of injury, and there were very few occasions when a participant hit an obstacle."

But anyone who's had to recently brave a sidewalk knows the texting-while-walking crowd is a bit slower—no matter how well adapted. The study confirms this as well. People walk significantly slower while adopting their protective gait.

See more on the texting-while-walking epidemic:
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Texting while walking
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Study: People who walk and text have a different pattern
TO GO WITH Lifestyle-HongKong-China-Japan-culture-technology, FEATURE by Judith Evans In a picture taken on August 20, 2010 two Chinese men send text messages as they walk along a subway tunnel in Beijing. Some Chinese people are finding that when they pick up a pen to write, the Chinese characters for simple words have entirely slipped from their mind. Surveys indicate the phenomenon, dubbed 'character amnesia', is widespread across China, causing young Chinese to fear for the future of their ancient writing system. Character amnesia happens because most Chinese people use electronic input systems based on pinyin, which translates Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet. AFP PHOTO / Franko LEE (Photo credit should read Franko Lee/AFP/Getty Images)
A man texts on his smartphone as he walks along a street in New York on March 4, 2015. AFP PHOT/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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