ZBicyclist

Re "cell phones and driving"

I've only read the abstract so far, not the full study, but I'm hearing echoes of the bicycle helmet research here.

The early helmet studies -- which, IIRC, used relative risk rates just as many of the early cell phone studies did -- led to completely overblown estimates of helmet effects. [The most widely cited being the 85% reduction in head injuries.]

Other studies based on natural experiments (e.g. areas in which mandatory helmet laws were adopted) showed basically nothing.

So, we seem to have a divergence in results due to methodology between relative-risk type methods and natural experiments.

To jump ahead, of course, there's suspicion in the helmet literature that it has nothing to do with methodology and much more to do with publication pressure and funding pressure. The researchers who found cell phones were as bad as drunk driving got a lot of press for their efforts. How much would they have gotten for finding a nonsignificant effect? This can introduce subtle selection biases.

Interestingly, one local cell phone company is touting their exclusive music arrangement with the rock group AC/DC, proving the opportunity for Levitt to study the influence of listening to AC/DC on your cell phone versus using a non-AC/DC phone.

Read more...

MIke

And the RSS feed does not have links...

jroxz

As far as studies in World of Warcraft are concerned, "Real World" pandemics don't come from, "Gee I wonder what that is..." followed by subsequent infection.

If you really would like to do a study why not the development of MMORPG Language... ie.

Nerf (v.) to reduce ones abilities

Kip

@ZBicyclist

There is also risk compensation factor that might be involved. Give people a helmet and they'll be more reckless (such that they will take about the same amount of risk). Put someone on a cell phone and they tend to drive more cautiously (at least, I have noticed that I hardly ever change lanes while I'm on my cell phone).

Chantal

Re cell phones and driving: let them come to me so I can tell them about the times that I was nearly killed by an idiot in a car on the phone. One time I was waiting with a group of people ON the sidewalk waiting till we could cross the street and all 5 of us (of which 2 young children) had to jump back because the guy cut the corner too much and he never even noticed we were there.
(BTW, the link doesn't work, not your fault, I cannot get to it from the main page either).

ZBicyclist

@Kip

I agree that risk compensation could be a factor. There's some evidence of this in the bicycle helmet literature as well -- hence the slang term "magic hat" for a helmet, as if wearing one will provide some sort of magic protection.

ZBicyclist

Re "cell phones and driving"

I've only read the abstract so far, not the full study, but I'm hearing echoes of the bicycle helmet research here.

The early helmet studies -- which, IIRC, used relative risk rates just as many of the early cell phone studies did -- led to completely overblown estimates of helmet effects. [The most widely cited being the 85% reduction in head injuries.]

Other studies based on natural experiments (e.g. areas in which mandatory helmet laws were adopted) showed basically nothing.

So, we seem to have a divergence in results due to methodology between relative-risk type methods and natural experiments.

To jump ahead, of course, there's suspicion in the helmet literature that it has nothing to do with methodology and much more to do with publication pressure and funding pressure. The researchers who found cell phones were as bad as drunk driving got a lot of press for their efforts. How much would they have gotten for finding a nonsignificant effect? This can introduce subtle selection biases.

Interestingly, one local cell phone company is touting their exclusive music arrangement with the rock group AC/DC, proving the opportunity for Levitt to study the influence of listening to AC/DC on your cell phone versus using a non-AC/DC phone.

Read more...

MIke

And the RSS feed does not have links...

jroxz

As far as studies in World of Warcraft are concerned, "Real World" pandemics don't come from, "Gee I wonder what that is..." followed by subsequent infection.

If you really would like to do a study why not the development of MMORPG Language... ie.

Nerf (v.) to reduce ones abilities

Kip

@ZBicyclist

There is also risk compensation factor that might be involved. Give people a helmet and they'll be more reckless (such that they will take about the same amount of risk). Put someone on a cell phone and they tend to drive more cautiously (at least, I have noticed that I hardly ever change lanes while I'm on my cell phone).

Chantal

Re cell phones and driving: let them come to me so I can tell them about the times that I was nearly killed by an idiot in a car on the phone. One time I was waiting with a group of people ON the sidewalk waiting till we could cross the street and all 5 of us (of which 2 young children) had to jump back because the guy cut the corner too much and he never even noticed we were there.
(BTW, the link doesn't work, not your fault, I cannot get to it from the main page either).

ZBicyclist

@Kip

I agree that risk compensation could be a factor. There's some evidence of this in the bicycle helmet literature as well -- hence the slang term "magic hat" for a helmet, as if wearing one will provide some sort of magic protection.