Washington: Too much time with your smartphone may lead to poor conversational skills, says a study.
“In their presence, people have the constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” explained lead study author Shalini Misra, a psychology professor at Virginia Tech in the US.
When people are distracted by their phones, it is easier to miss subtle cues such as changes in facial expression and changes in tone.
People are becoming obsessed with cultivating horizontal relationships – “vast networks of shallow relationships with people who are not physically present, with a smartphone acting as the portal,” Misra noted.
The compulsion to check phones and the need to stay tied into the horizontal network can make people withdraw from the present.
To test this, Misra and her team divided 200 coffee shop visitors into pairs and asked them to discuss a topic.
They found that many visitors sitting in pairs or in small groups checked their phones every three to five minutes, and usually held or placed their phones on the table in front of them.
“When people are staring down at their phones, there is also much less eye contact and this may result in the participants feeling less connected to each other,” researchers added.
The study appeared in the journal Environment and Behavior.