London: New research has found mobile phones can damage personal relationships merely with their presence no matter they are being used or not.

According to psychologists who conducted the experiments at Essex University, mobile phones automatically trigger thoughts about wider social networks, reducing the level of empathy and understanding in face-to-face conversations, Daily Mail reported.

The two studies found if a mobile was visible during a conversation it caused people to feel less positive towards the person with whom they were talking.  The findings suggest fiddling with one's cellphone or simply leaving it in view during a romantic dinner or a meeting with a friend could be a serious social faux pas.

"In both studies we found evidence mobiles can have negative effects on closeness, connection, and conversation quality," said lead researcher Andrew Przybylski.

The studies were the first designed to check the effects of a mobile phone being present on face-to-face communication.


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