Trapped between self-control failure and norm violation: How users’ mobile messaging behavior during task engagement influences feelings of guilt

Halfmann, Annabell ; Meier, Adrian ; Reinecke, Leonard

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2019
Conference title: 11th Conference of the Media Psychology Division, German Psychological Society, DGPs
Location of the conference venue: Chemnitz, Germany
Date of the conference: 04.-06.09.2019
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Medien- und Kommunikationswisseschaft (Vorderer 2010-)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Abstract: An increasing number of studies indicates that individuals have difficulties in exerting self-control over media use, such as mobile messaging. Specifically, individuals frequently experience that their messenger use conflicts with primary goals (e.g., work tasks), which may cause negative self-conscious emotions like guilt. At the same time, not checking and answering messages violates a now widely established availability norm, which may trigger negative self-conscious emotions as well. Intriguingly, this dilemma has not yet been investigated systematically. To fill this gap, the current study tests how goal conflicts and “connection cues” interact in influencing users’ negative self-conscious emotions about their messenger usage behavior. Drawing on self-control research in conjunction with self-determination theory and theoretical approaches to social norms, we derive hypotheses on the boundary conditions under which the frequency of messenger usage causes negative self-conscious emotions. We thereby significantly extend previous research on the self-regulation of mobile media use, which assumes that self-control failure results only from users’ intrinsic motivation to experience need satisfaction and pleasure and has largely overlooked the fact that mediated communication is often extrinsically motivated due to the availability norm. The hypotheses will be tested based on a laboratory experiment.

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