WASHINGTON – Everybody has a cell phone and talks on it whenever he’s alone. While it might seem the cell would make people more willing to help others, a new University of Maryland study finds cell phones are making people less socially minded and more selfish.
What the researchers found is that after using their cells for a short period of time, people were less inclined to volunteer for community service and less persistent in solving word problems, compared to participants in the study’s control-group.
The findings in the working paper, “The Effect of Mobile Phone Use on Prosocial Behavior,” involved college-age participants.
Citing previous research to explain their findings, researchers said, “The cellphone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong.”
Researchers say this results in reducing a person’s desire to connect with others or engage in empathic behavior pr behavior that would benefit another person or society as a whole.
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WTOP’s David Burd contributed to this report. Follow David and WTOP on Twitter.