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Mobile phones 'can affect relationships'Posted on: May 14, 2013 15:26:18
The presence of a mobile phone can affect conversations between couples even when it does not ring, new research has revealed.
While the world of technology is one that has opened doors for people hoping to find that special someone via online dating, a study has found smartphones and other gadgets can actually stand in the way of communication, reports Live Science.
Experts from the University of Essex found that when asked to discuss something meaningful with their other halves, participants reported less trust and lower relationship quality when a mobile phone was in the same room.
Study author Andrew Przybylski said he was inspired to carry out the research after noticing people on dates leaving their mobile phones out on the bar or table in Manhattan.
He set out to discover how the device's presence may be influencing face-to-face communications between the two people.
"What the work does is highlights one potential downside to mobile phones being so ubiquitous," Mr Przybylski explained.
Along with his colleague Netta Winstein, the psychologist designed two simple experiments in which two strangers were told to converse with each other for ten minutes - then, experts would place a mobile phone either unobtrusively on a nearby table or replaced by a black notebook.
Researchers found that even though the device never rang or vibrated, it affected the conversation.
"When people were having an important conversation, relationship quality was lower, and partner trust was lower and empathy was lower when the mobile phone was there," Mr Przybylski added.
The investigation has wider implications for those in serious relationships, as although technology now plays an important role in bringing people together - it can also be detrimental for those who are romantically involved.
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