The mere presence of a cellphone can affect your conversation with people even if it never rings or vibrates, a new study has found.
Mobile phones don’t disrupt casual conversation much but when people were asked to discuss something meaningful, they reported less trust, empathy and lower relationship quality when a cellphone was in the room, the study has found.
The presence of a mobile phone can also make a meeting between two strangers more stilted, ‘LiveScience’ reported.
“What the work does is highlights one potential downside to mobile phones being so ubiquitous,” said study researcher Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at the University of Essex.
Przybylski got the inspiration for the study after noticing daters and bar-goers in Manhattan leaving their phones out on the bar or table.
He wondered how the phone’s presence might be influencing face-to-face interactions.
He and his University of Essex colleague Netta Weinstein designed two simple experiments in which two strangers were told to talk for 10 minutes.
In the first scenario, 74 undergraduates were paired up and asked to talk about an interesting event in the last month.