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Smartphones are distracting us to death—but we can fight back

‘We’re not communicating anymore—just connecting’

As the World Wide Web has become a staple of modern life over the last 25 years, we’ve used it in ways that have forever changed our relationships with people and information. That’s come with a big drawback, one expert says: We appear to be living less in the present moment, and communicating less with each other.

Larry Rosen, a research psychologist and past chair of the psychology department at California State University, Dominguez Hills, studies the impact of technology on our lives. In his new book “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World,” written with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley of the University of California, San Francisco, he examines how communications technology might be making us miserable—and more prone to distraction.

Real human interaction, Rosen says, is more than just exchanging words or images on a screen. It involves body language, tone of voice, interpretation of moods, consequences, and the intimacy that comes with dealing with another person face-to-face.

“We’re not communicating anymore,” Rosen told MarketWatch in a recent interview. “Just connecting.”

That eerie sentiment is captured in a recent series by photographer Eric Pickersgill, where he photographed everyday individuals using their devices but removed their devices just before he took the photograph

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