123 Connect or Cell Phone?

Based on research byPrzyhylski & Weinstein, 2013. Written by Mara Rowcliffe, B.S..

Do your friends and family ever complain that you are on your phone too much? Do you think your cell phone affects your relationships?

Psychologists Andrew Przybylski and Netta Weinstein conducted an experiment to assess the impact of the presence of cell phones on the quality of face-to-face interactions between strangers. They divided participants into pairs and asked them to share a personal story of something that had recently occurred. Randomly assigned to one of two groups, each pair had either a cell phone or notebook placed in their peripheral vision. After ten minutes of interaction, participants answered questions about the relationship formed. Those with a cell phone within their vision reported that they felt less close with their laboratory partners and had an overall lower quality of relationship compared to those who shared a conversation about a personally meaningful topic without a phone visible.

Although cellphones may assist people in connecting with others across the world, this study suggests that the mere presence of a phone can negatively impact in-person interactions. When you want to establish or maintain a genuine relationship with the person right in front of you, keep your phone in your pocket, off!


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, 30(3), 237-         246.

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