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Digital Tools and Social Behavior

In modern society, people are connected via smartphones and other digital devices making face-to-face contact practically rare. The authors of the article raised an important question of whether being frequently connected to the digital world may dwindle major behavior approaches (Kushlev et al., 2019). Certain approach behaviors such as smiling at strangers are diminishing because engagement between people seldom happens in the real social world (Kushlev et al., 2019). One-on-one interaction between people has greatly declined due to technological innovation.

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The researchers used 169 undergraduate students from British Columbia University who had signed consent forms to participate in the study. The samples included 62% same-gender dyads, and 38% mixed-gender dyads. Two participants who were unacquainted with each other were booked for the study session, and they were assigned to the phoneless or phone condition. They were left alone in a room to have a conversation during which their dialogue was videotaped without their knowledge (Kushlev et al., 2019). They had a natural discussion without knowing that they were under study.

The findings supported the hypothesis of the researchers because the phoneless pair exhibited reduced smiles in the course of their conversation. However, the participants in the phone situation exhibited more facial beams. The findings, therefore, show that smartphones have significantly influenced the way people engage with each other (Kushlev et al., 2019). The findings of this study show that the behaviors of individuals change based on the situation they are open to. People are no longer interrelating with each other physically but through communication devices.

Based on their findings, scholars had formulated a theory. It says that exposure to social networks and other devices such as smartphones may reduce the social engagement between individuals (Kushlev et al., 2019). The researchers endeavored to show that phones may hamper the formation of social relationships and other exchanges which built social capital (Kushlev et al., 2019). Since people will always use digital devices and other information technology tools, how is society likely to look like in a few years to come?

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