How Cell Phones Prevent You From Connecting With People

New scientific evidence confirms that the mere presence of a cell phone can affect how you communicate with someone face-to-face.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Studies done at the University of Essex confirm what some of us who are married to our smartphones (or know someone who is) may have suspected: Despite its many benefits, advanced cell phone technology can negatively affect how you engage with others in face-to-face interactions. In one experiment, pairs of strangers were asked to discuss a somewhat personal topic in a room that contained a desk with a book and a second item on it. Afterwards, they completed questionnaires on the quality of the interaction. Subjects reported a lower quality of interaction when the second item on the desk was a cell phone. A follow-up experiment, in which the topic of discussion varied between casual and meaningful, showed that the subjects felt less trust and empathy when the topic was meaningful and a cell phone was in the room.

What's the Big Idea?

"Past studies have suggested that because of the many social, instrumental, and entertainment options [cell] phones afford us, they often divert our attention from our current environment, whether we are speeding down a highway or sitting through a meeting.  The new research suggests that cell phones may serve as a reminder of the wider network to which we could connect, inhibiting our ability to connect with the people right next to us.  Cell phone usage may even reduce our social consciousness."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less