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

Personal Growth

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

Keep reading Show less

Why radicals can't recognize when they're wrong

It's not just ostriches who stick their head in the sand.

Image source: Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • Not only does everyone have personal experience with how difficult it can be to change people's minds, but there's also empirical research showing why this is the case.
  • A new study in Current Biology explains why some people seem to be constitutionally incapable of admitting they're wrong.
  • The study shows the underlying mechanism behind being bull-headed, and there may be some ways to get better at recognizing when you're wrong.
Keep reading Show less

'Self is not entirely lost in dementia,' argues new review

The assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" is wrong, say researchers.

Photo credit: Darren Hauck / Getty Images
Mind & Brain

In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the "self" in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the "unbecoming of the self" or the "disintegration" of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" (as encapsulated by the line from Hume: "Memory alone… 'tis to be considered… as the source of personal identity").

Keep reading Show less