Scientists have definitively proved that overhearing a cellphone conversation is more distracting than overhearing a normal conversation. It's because you only hear a "half-a-logue," which is less predictable and therefore requires more mental power to parse and ignore.
A team of researchers from Cornell University did a series of experiments in which they subjected people to overhearing half of a cellphone conversation, both sides of a cellphone conversation, and in-person conversations. Whereas the half-a-logues "decreased performance on cognitive tasks," dialogues did not. So next time an incessant yakker drives you crazy on a plane or bus, tell them to put it on speaker or STFU. [MindHacks via @slate, image via Shutterstock]