Although recent research has found evidence that the mere presence of a cell phone or other communication device has negative effects on the reported quality of face-to-face interactions (e.g., Misra, Cheng, Genevie, & Yuan, 2014; Przybylski & Weinstein, 2013), no prior study has examined how individuals' actual access to communication devices during an interaction may affect that interaction, either negatively or positively. This was the focus of our study. Seventy-five previously unacquainted dyads engaged in a get-acquainted interaction over Skype. In the experimental dyads, one member unobtrusively (out of the view of his or her interaction partner) checked his or her cell phone and Facebook while interacting with the other. In the control dyads, neither partner had cell phone or Facebook access. Regardless of condition, participants rated the interaction positively. Generally, being connected to one's social network had no effect on the interaction. A comparison of our results with those of recent studies (e.g., Przybylski & Weinstein) led to the conclusion that divided attention from the presence of a communication device may be detrimental for an interaction only when the network members cannot be accessed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction