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People often complain when others are distracted by cell phones — spouses not fully listening to each other because they keep glancing at their phones, a couple on a dinner date at a restaurant with their phones on the table, friends hanging out together all immersed in their phones. Yet despite how much we complain about the distraction of cell phones, we continue to allow ourselves to succumb to it.
New research explores why we "phub" (short for "phone snub") others, despite disapproving of the practice.
Research on phubbing suggests that the negative attitude many people have toward this behavior is justified.
People tend to feel excluded and their mood suffers when they're being ignored in favor of someone's phone. And frequently being phubbed by a romantic partner creates conflict and leads to lower relationship satisfaction.
Phones are also distracting, making it difficult for people to fully attend to whatever else is going in their environment.
Recognizing that we have this bias may help us avoid it. Research suggests that making yourself more aware of this bias and considering how it may be operating when you're using your phone can help you to see how your phone use may be negatively affecting others.
And since you're likely to view your own phone use more positively than the other person does, this is a reminder to think about how you may be perceived by the other person before you pull out your phone.
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