A recent study showed that the mere presence of a phone interferes with our attempts to socialize.
Participants were paired together with strangers and had a conversation.
There were two conditions.
1. A mobile phone placed on the table
2. A notebook was placed in the same spot.
Both groups were instructed to have a chat and get to know each other.
At the end of the experiment the participants were asked to rate how meaningful their conversations were.
Those who were exposed to the mobile phone rated their conversation as less meaningful than the group who were exposed to the notepad.
What does this mean?
The researchers suggest that the mobile phone triggers automatic thoughts about wider social networks, which has the effect of crowding out face-to-face conversations.
What this tells us is that phones help us stay connected with the wide world, but when it comes to intimate connections, it has an adverse effect, causing people to not feel as connected.
In other words, it’s like inviting the world to the table when you are having an intimate conversation.
Andrew K. Przybylski, and Netta Weinstein (2012). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships DOI: