A new study examines why overheard cellphone conversations - half a dialogue - are so annoying. From one report:
Whether it is the office, on a train or in a car, only hearing half of a conversation drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking, according to scientists at Cornell University. "We have less control to move away our attention from half a conversation, or 'halfalogue', than when listening to a dialogue," says Lauren Emberson, a co-author of the study that will be published in the journal Psychological Science. "Since halfalogues really are more distracting and you can't tune them out, this could explain why people are irritated," she says.