People using smartphones tend to linger in public spaces, study shows

January 25, 2014
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Though smartphones are believed to keep us withdrawn, it doesn’t have an effect on our actions. A new study shows that those using smartphones are more likely to seek out public areas. Whether or not we’re talking to each other, at least we want to be around each other, right?

 The study actually goes back about 50 years. In the 1960’s, a sociologist by the name of William H Whyte set out to discover whether we enjoyed being alone, or in a group. His study found that people, by and large, enjoy being in a group, or near others. His study has inspired design of public spaces, and inspired further studies on the topic.

Fast forward to modern day, and we find that people on smartphones like to loiter just a touch longer in public areas than those who don’t have their nose buried. Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers, concludes that on the steps of the Met, people lingered a touch longer than those without devices. Essentially, we’re taking life a little slower while tweets race past our eyes.

The study also showed a marked increase over general loitering versus a time when we didn’t have mobile technology. It seems that, even though we might enjoy cloud-based gaming communities and conversing online, we still want to be around each other. Now we’re just curious where you are while you’re reading this.
VIA: Gizmodo


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  • klyze

    Seriously?
    Whats next? “people tends to read newspaper while taking breakfast, Study shows”
    This society nowdays is full of bs studies (study shows :P)

  • Charles Gauthier

    Ridiculous… Yes, people stay longer, but concluding this is due to some social need is grasping for some positive aspect of smartphone isolation. People hang longer because they are busy on their phones. In the past people would be there to wait for others, it thread a paper, or just to kill time before a scheduled meeting, they they would leave to go do something else.
    This study sounds like something you would see in SNL…

  • steven taylor

    I can only speak for myself, but I’ve found when my heads buried in a text/email/article, I feel safer when I see people standing around in my pereferial…like a zebra chewing grass, if the rest of the heard is standing still this must be a safe spot to stop and emerse.