CELL PHONE USAGE AND SOCIAL INTERACTION WITH PROXIMATE OTHERS: RINGING IN A THEORETICAL MODEL
 
Student researchers

Banjo, O., & Hu, Y. (Graduate Students)

Faculty Supervisor

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar

Introduction

Until recently, research on the social psychological impact of cell phone usage in public places has been scarce and limited to observational methods. Not only do findings indicate that the presence of cell phones in public pose a conflict between private and public spheres, but cell phone usage also inhibits social interaction with proximate others (strangers or known persons).

research question

The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical model for which social effects of cell phone usage in public places can be empirically tested. In this paper, we discuss various mediating and moderating variables to consider in the study of cell phone usage (CPU) and social interaction with proximate others (SIPO).

Method

We offer a modest experiment of cell phone usage in the context of social participation a form of social interaction, to which the model could be implemented.

Results

Focusing on helping behavior in particular, results indicate that while on the cell phone, users are less likely to notice when someone is in need of help.

Conclusions

These findings imply that cell phone usage in public places can distract users from social responsibilities, as they neglect the environment surrounding them. The implications of this project also call for a need to elaborate on empirical methods of studying CPU in public places in hopes of developing a social code for proper cell phone usage.

For more details regarding the study contact

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar by e-mail at sss12@psu.edu or by telephone at (814) 865-2173

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Media Effects Research Lab at College of Communications, Penn State University