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Re: Annoyance of cell phone use in public spaces (fwd)

I wonder whether mobile phone users are talking any louder than those
using a landline. I suspect not, but they are more likely to be in a
public place. I think it's probably just as annoying to have someone hold
a telephone conversation in your living room while you try to read a book.
In that case, and assuming that they are telking louder than in a face-to-
face conversation, the Q becomes "why do people talk loudly on the phone?"

I suspect that this is a Lombard-type thing. People may talk loudly in
a conversation because they unconsciously believe it to be necessary.
If they are having difficulty understanding their respondent, then they
presume the same problem at the other end and so talk back loudly (or
what they perceive to be loudly enough). On the phone one has no visual
cues to improve speech recognition and a rather restricted range of
frequencies (0.3-3.3 kHz). Although this frequency range is selected
for optimally efficient use of bandwidth for speech communication, the
loss of other the other frequencies will impair understanding to some
extent creating the impression that communication in each direction is

Here's a testable empirical Q. Place two people in telephone conversation,
but create an asymmetriccally degraded signal - add noise to, distort or
frequency-restrict the sound in one direction only. The prediction would
be that the one receiving the degraded signal will talk louder. Been done?