Just picture it…a loving couple gaze across the candlelit table at one another, fingers entwined. She leans in for a kiss when the moment is interrupted by a buzzing vibration next to his elbow. In one swift moment the romance dissipates as he picks up his smartphone and smoothly shifts his connection away from the woman at his side and into the cyber world before him. Sadly, this isn’t a scene from a low-budget romance movie, it’s a scene played out every day across the globe.
According to newly published research in Perspectives on Psychological Science, there could be “an evolutionary mismatch between smartphones and the social behaviors that help form and maintain close social relationships.” Researchers surmise that human survival adaptations for attachment bonds are based on face-to-face interactions such as interpersonal responsiveness and vulnerable self-disclosure. These interplays of human connection help increase trust, enable cooperation, and promote social bonds. Thus the technoference of smartphones and other handy-dandy technological devices may be undermining the very ancestral structure of our human condition. Researchers conclude with a call to action for deeper research into human relationships, intimacy, and the interruptive presence of smartphones.
Perhaps for this Valentine’s Day you could best honor your sweetheart by putting that smartphone away. Ultimate romance is far more likely to be found face-to-face than on a screen!
By Terissa Michele Miller, MS Psy
Check out the original research: