How your cell phone can ruin your relationship

Last Updated 07 September 2012, 15:36 IST

Having a cell phone in the room, let alone using it, can be harmful to your relationship, a new study has found.

Recent research shows that just having your mobile device in the room can negatively impact your interactions with other people, according to the researchers from Essex University.

In a study titled “Can you connect with me now?” researchers Andrew K Przybylski and Netta Weinstein performed two experiments to see how the presence of a cellular phone affected the dynamics between two people, the ‘New York Daily News’ reported.
They asked pairs of strangers to sit together in private booths where a book had been placed out of their direct line of sight.

In addition to the book, each booth had one other object. One set of subjects could also see a notebook in their peripheral vision, while the other set could see a cell phone out of the corner of their eyes.

The strangers were then asked to share a personal story of an interesting event that had happened to them in the last month, after which researchers asked them questions about the relationship they had formed.

Even in the short interaction, each pair was only together for 10 minutes, the difference between having a phone in the background versus not having one was notable.
The strangers who were seated within eyeshot of a phone felt less close and reported a lower quality of relationship with their partner, than those who were placed in an environment without a phone in the background.

During a second experiment in which pairs of strangers engaged in both casual and meaningful conversations, the researchers again found that when a mobile phone was present it “predicted lower relationship quality.”

(Published 07 September 2012, 15:34 IST)

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