Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Do Cell Phones Make Us Less Socially Minded?

Closeup of a female speaking outside on a cell...

Image via Wikipedia

A week ago my husband and I were in the backseats of a van.  The driver carried on an extensive conversation via cell phone. It was a very jovial conversation, he was much less tense than in most conversations with us. So, did the cell phone provide a much needed escape from us? or create a less social atmosphere overall??
(Goes without saying how nervous we were about his driving while talking on the cell phone!)

From the 21 February 2012 Medical News Today article

A recent study from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business finds that even though cell phones are generally thought to connect people with each other, they may make users less socially minded. The findings of various experiments conducted by marketing professors Anastasiya Pocheptsova and Rosellina Ferraro with graduate student, Ajay T. Abraham have been published in their working paper The Effect of Mobile Phone Use on Pro-social Behavior. ..

…Their findings revealed that participants were less likely to volunteer for a community service when asked after a short period of using their cell phone, than those in the control-group and were also less persistent in solving word problems, despite knowing their answers would result in a monetary donation to charity.

The cell phone users’ lower interest in others also persisted when asked to simply draw a picture of their cell phones and think about how they used them.

The researchers referred to earlier studies in explaining the key cause of their findings, saying:

“The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong.”

This leads to a lower desire to connect with others or to be empathic towards others. It also decreases pro-social behavior, which means wanting to act in order to benefit another person or society as a whole. …

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February 22, 2012 - Posted by | Psychology | , , ,

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