Phone, wallet, keys – the trio of don’t-forget items when you leave your house. However, can the presence of a phone influence the degree of connection and empathy in our lives?
Through a study, researchers found that the mere presence of a mobile phone during face-to-face conversations can weaken interpersonal bonds, especially during meaningful conversations.
While mobile devices have revolutionized the way we communicate over long distances, the two experiments in the study have shown that:
The mere presence of a phone during conversations can result in diminished feelings of closeness, connection, and perceived empathy, between conversing partners.
These effects were most pronounced when participants were engaged in discussions on personally meaningful topics, demonstrating that mobile phones could potentially disrupt the formation of deeper connections.
As we continue to grapple with the omnipresence of mobile technology, this research serves as a wake-up call, reminding us to be more mindful of our device use during face-to-face interactions. It is time we remedy the loneliness in our world with more genuine, unmediated human connection. Perhaps, then, we need to occasionally disconnect from our devices to truly connect with those around us.
- Przybylski, A. K., & Weinstein, N. (2013). 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. July 19