Do Bystanders and Dialog Participants Differ in Preferences for Telecommunications Channels?

Nigel G. Ward, Anais G. Rivera and Alejandro Vega

Human Factors in Telecommunication, 21st Annual Symposium, pp 223-230. Kuala Lumpur, March 2008.

Mobile telephone conversations in public places are often annoying to bystanders. Previous work has focused on the psychological and social causes for this (Monk 2004b, Ling 2004), but has not examined the possible role of properties of the communication channel. We hypothesized that some of the annoyance could be explained if bystander preferences differ from talker preferences. If this is this true, it will be possible to develop telephony infrastructure which enables users to have mobile conversations in public places without annoying others. This paper report a series of preliminary studies, done to find an experimental method that would enable the demonstration of the existence of divergent preferences. The strategy was to have both talkers and bystanders judge conversations across a moderate-noise low-delay line and across a low-noise moderate-delay line. No clear tendency was found; we were unable to conclude that a preference difference exists.

Paper (pdf)

Presentation (ppt, pdf)

Supplement ( Reasons why Mobile Telephone Conversations may be Annoying: Considerations and Pilot Studies

Nigel G. Ward, Anais G. Rivera, and Alejandro Vega

Technical Report UTEP-CS-07-60, December 2007.

This technical report provides supplemental information, specifically a broader view of the likely causes of annoyance and more details on the ten pilot studies and the data collected.)


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