Strangers smile less to one another when they have their smartphones, study finds

By | December 24, 2018

PsyPost reports:

New research suggests that phones are altering fundamental aspects of social life. According to a study published in Computers in Human Behavior, strangers smile less to one another when they have their smartphones with them.

“Smartphones provide easy access to so much fun and useful content, but we wondered if they may have subtle unanticipated costs for our social behavior in the nondigital world. Smiling is a fundamental human social behavior that serves as a signal of people’s current emotions and motivations,” said study author Kostadin Kushlev, an assistant professor at Georgetown University.

In the study, pairs of strangers were assigned to wait together in a room for 10 minutes either with or without their smartphones. The room was videotaped, and the participants were positioned so that both of their faces were visible to cameras.

Participants with their smartphones were less likely to initiate conversations. Thirty-two participants who had their phones never ended up interacting with the other person in the waiting room. In comparison, just 6 people without their phones never interacted with the stranger. [Continue reading…]

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