Your Phone Is Making You Into a Terrible Person

Illustration for article titled Your Phone Is Making You Into a Terrible Person

Anyone who spends any time in public knows that there are any number of ways a cell phone can turn a person into an asshole, but now science has discovered yet another way that phones are ruining us and destroying our social fabric. It turns out, according to a study from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, that after people used their phones for even a short period, they were less likely to engage in "prosocial" behavior than a control group was. That means that they were less likely to volunteer and weren't as diligent about trying to complete a word problem even though they were aware that their answers would provide money for charity. Jerks! And what's worse, it turns out you don't even need to talk on your phone—you only need to think about it. Researchers observed the same drop in prosocial behavior after a group of study participants was asked to draw a picture of their cell phone and think about using it.


So what's with our phone-induced inclination to be rude to our fellow man? Well, researchers think it's because communicating with people on our phone satisfies our basic need to connect with others, and once we've done that we have no use for connecting with more people. So, basically, once you've got Siri as a friend, you don't need any of those other losers. Of course, this isn't so great if you find yourself in need of assistance on the street. I'd say you should probably try to turn to someone who isn't holding a phone in their hand, but good luck finding one of them. Looks like the new rule of the streets is every man (and their phone) for themselves.

Is Your Cell Phone Making You a Jerk? [Time]

Image via NataliaYeromina/Shutterstock.



I will continue to frequent this website because the comments have proven what I have always felt to be true: We are all cut from the same glorious cloth. Everybody here talking about how they don't have a smartphone makes me not feel so alone. EVERYBODY at my job has a smartphone and are constantly baffled (and bordering on horrified) that I don't - how do I get around? How do I find anything? How do I FUNCTION AS A HUMAN BEING?!

*shrugs* I do just fine.

I still maintain that talking/texting while in the company of others is rude. If my phone rings, I'll either silence it or pick up, say quickly, "I'll call you back," or I'll remove myself from the room. I try to keep texting to a minimum, too. And to be fair, I think it's really only because I hate hate HATE when people do focus on talking or texting while they're with me, in the physical present. Or worse - surfing Facebook or whatever. Jerks.