Bring Us Souvenirs from Paris! Part Deux

Tonight’s cancellation of class brings you Part 2 of my two-part blog series based on an out-of-class assignment.  You can find Part 1 here.  My two articles look at social media and distraction, but from two different perspectives.  The research article I cite in Part 1 discusses the levels of distraction during study time, whereas this article considers distraction to be a bit more useful….

My second intriguing article (from 2014 and unrelated to my field of research) is a qualitative study on how social media can help you quit smoking:  A Mobile App Offering Distractions and Tips to Cope with Cigarette Craving.

Quitting smoking? There's an app for that.

Quitting smoking? There’s an app for that.

The authors (Ploderer, et al.) designed and piloted a mobile app designed to distract quitters who are suffering cravings.  Appropriately named “DistractMe,” the app offers tips for distractions, as well as coping mechanisms for quitting; the latter was found to be more popular amongst the 14 participants.

My dad quit smoking around 5 years ago using nicotine gum.  He still chews it religiously and still suffers cigarette cravings, so I will definitely be recommending him something like this app — a recommendation it is likely he will promptly ignore even while acknowledging it is a good idea for an app.  Even so, I’m sure there are those who would find an app of this sort to be a helpful stop-smoking aid (as further evidenced by this list on


Bring Us Souvenirs from Paris! Part 1

Tonight’s blogs are brought to you by my professor’s trip to Paris.  Our assignment is to blog about two articles from 2014, unrelated to our field of research.  Therefore, I bring you Part 1 of a 2-part series of blogs (you can find Part Deux here).

This is the first intriguing article I found: What else do college students “do” while studying? An investigation of multitasking.

In this study, Calderman, et al. (2014) looked at the effects of self-efficacy and task motivation to participate in distracting media use (e.g., cell phones, social media, music) while completing homework assignments outside of class.  On average, over the course of a 3-hour study session, students spent an aggregated 25 minutes engaging in multitasking/distracting behaviors and 73 minutes listening to music while completing homework assignments.  As would likely be expected, higher levels of self-efficacy and task motivation were associated with less multimedia use while studying; in layman’s terms, those who were more inclined to finish their homework were less distracted by their cell phones.  Fatigue was also linked to longer durations of indulging in distracting endeavors, meaning that the more weary the student, the longer he or she allowed themselves to be distracted.

In order to record the students’ level of distraction, the authors used surveillance cameras positioned in a controlled environment to monitor the students.  The level of distraction caused by these cameras was shown to be minimal (Calderman, et al., 2014).  However, I find this to be surprising; here are two of the recording devices used in the study:


(Calderman, et al., 2014)


(Calderman, et al., 2014)

Pictured above: not as distracting as Facebook.