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Cell phones make you selfish

People who spend an inordinate amount of their time on their new or old cell phones are likely to be more egocentric than those who do not, according to a preliminary study from the University of Maryland.

Researchers Rosellina Ferraro, Ajay Abraham and Anastasiya Pocheptsova wanted to look at what effects cell phone use has on pro-social behavior, i.e. behavior which is beneficial, helpful or just positive to other people, and so studied a bunch of 20-something college students, asking them to spend a bit of quality time with their beloved mobile phones.

The Baltimore Sun says that the researchers discovered that even just a short time using cell phones made those tested less likely to volunteer for a community service activity if they were so asked, in comparison to their counterparts in a control group. They were also even less prepared to work on word problems, even when aware that successful completion resulted in a cash donation to charity. Oddly enough, even just asking the test subjects to draw a picture of their cell phone and think about how they use them was enough to generate the same anti-social behavior.

“The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic need to belong,” the authors reckon. In other words, the researchers are suggesting that if people use their cell phone for long enough, this meets the brain’s need to connect with others, but at the expense of actual social participation.