Free Cash Can’t Even Distract Us From Our Phones

Man using phone
Photo: Brand New Images/Getty Images

For the love of God and money and not landing in the emergency room: Please put the phone away when you’re walking down the street. New research finds that 94 percent of people on a cell phone are so distracted that they don’t even register a literal money tree, with dollar bills pinned conspicuously throughout the leaves. 

The researchers at Western Washington University say their experiment was inspired by a video that found the same things: that most people walked right on by a money-filled tree without realizing it, and that even many of the people who did look at the tree didn’t seem to truly see it.

The thing is, our attention to the world around us is a losing battle to begin with. This study showed that even 80 percent of those who weren’t messing with their phones walked right by the money without noticing. So why further distract your already addled mind by checking your email or responding to a text? Think of it this way: There are increasingly fewer places in this country where you can truly disconnect, so claim your walk down the street, however brief, as a small moment of unplugged peace.