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How your smartphone is affecting your relationship

Smartphones have become a constant companion for many of us. In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, nearly 50 percent of adults reported they "couldn t live without" their phones.

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Whether at the supermarket, in the doctor s office, or in bed at night, it can be tempting to pick up the device and start scrolling through social media or text messages at any moment. But anyone who has done so in the presence of a close friend, family member or romantic partner may have left that person feeling ignored, annoyed or even pushed away. That s according to a growing body of research on "technoference," or the potential interference smartphones and other technologies can have in our face-to-face social interactions.

In a new review paper, forthcoming in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, University of Arizona psychology professor David Sbarra and his collaborators at Wayne State University in Detroit examine existing research on technoference. They propose an explanation for why humans are so drawn to their smartphones, even when the devices take us out of the moment in our close relationships. It s because of our evolutionary history, they say.

Humans are hard-wired to connect with others, Sbarra and his colleagues argue. In the course of evolutionary history, we have relied on close relationships with small networks of family and friends for survival as individuals and as a species. These relationships were based on trust and cooperation, which is built when people disclose personal information about themselves and are responsive to others.

Smartphones, and the constant access they provide to text messaging and social media, make it easier than ever for people to disclose personal information and respond to others in their social networks. And these networks are much larger and more far-flung than those of our ancestors.
Read more on sciencedaily.com
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