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London, Oct 6: Mobile phones can damage personal relationships merely by their presence even when not in use, a new research has revealed.

Studies show that if a mobile is visible during a conversation, it causes people to feel less positive towards the person with whom they are chatting.

The findings suggest that fiddling with your mobile or simply leaving it in view during a romantic dinner or a meeting with a friend could be a serious social faux pas.

Psychologists who conducted the experiments at Essex University believe mobile phones automatically trigger thoughts about wider social networks, reducing the level of empathy and understanding in face-to-face conversations.

"In both studies we found evidence mobiles can have negative effects on closeness, connection, and conversation quality," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Andrew Przybylski as saying.

"The presence of a mobile phone may orient individuals to thinking of other people and events outside their immediate social context.

"In doing so, they divert attention away from a presently occurring interpersonal experience to focus on a multitude of other concerns and interests," he said. (ANI)

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