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The mere presence effect of smartphones on decision-making performance


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Bailey, L 2018 , 'The mere presence effect of smartphones on decision-making performance', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The present study investigated the ‘mere presence effect’ of smartphones on decision-making performance. We also explored whether the relationship between smartphone presence and decision-making could be partially explained by cravings when moderated by smartphone dependency. Fifty-one participants (29 female; aged 19-45 years, `M`= 25.76, SD = 5.57) were recruited and randomly allocated into one of two conditions: a smartphone condition where participants had their phones in the lab face down and on silent and a control condition where participants had their phones in a separate room. Both conditions completed a decisionmaking task via a computer. On completion of the task, all participants filled out a problematic phone use scale to determine smartphone dependency and a craving intensity scale to determine cravings to use the smartphone device throughout the study. Results demonstrated no moderated mediation of cravings and smartphone dependency. However, as expected we demonstrated that smartphone presence does indeed affect decision-making performance, with participants in the smartphone condition (smartphone present) employing significantly more heuristic-based decisions (`M` = 7.59) than participants in the control condition (smartphones absent) (`M` = 6.33). Our data demonstrates that merely having a smartphone present is cognitively demanding and can increase the use of heuristics (i.e., mental shortcuts) in decision-making.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Bailey, L
Keywords: mere presence effect, smartphones, decision making, cravings, dependency, attention, dual process theories, heuristics
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Copyright 2018 the author

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