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BPS News

What your choice of smartphone says about you

01 September 2016

A study presented today at the British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section's annual conference suggests that a person's choice of smartphone can provide valuable information about their personality.

As part of her doctoral study at the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology Heather Shaw, and her fellow researchers, conducted two studies of personality differences between iPhone and Android smartphone users. Lancaster University was also involved in the study. 

In the first study the researchers asked 240 participants to complete a questionnaire about characteristics they associate with users of each smartphone brand. 

In the second study they tested these stereotypes against actual personality traits of 530 Android and iPhone smartphone users. 

The results from the first study showed that Android users are perceived to have greater levels of honesty and humility, agreeableness and openness personality traits but are seen as less extroverted than iPhone users. 

The results from the second study showed that most of the personality stereotypes did not occur in reality, as only honesty and humility was found in greater amounts within Android users.

However, they did find that women were twice more likely to own an iPhone than an Android Phone. When measuring the characteristic ‘avoidance of similarity’ which describes whether people like having the same products as others, Android Users avoided similarity more than iPhone users. Finally, iPhone users thought it was more important to have a high status phone than Android users.

Heather explained:

“This study provides new insights into personality differences between different types of smartphone users. Smartphone choice is the most basic level of smartphone personalisation, and even this can tell us a lot about the user.

Imagine if we further researched how personality traits relate to the applications people download.

It is becoming more and more apparent that smartphones are becoming a mini digital version of the user, and many of us don’t like it when other people use our phones because it can reveal so much about us”. 

The Social Psychology Section annual conference takes place from the 31 August to the 2 September in Cardiff.

Follow the conference on Twitter #spsconf

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