Boosting conversation or shrinking attention? An experimental investigation of using smartphones during face-to-face communication

Lutz, Sarah ; Knop, Karin

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2018
Conference title: 68th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA)
Location of the conference venue: Prague, Czech Republic
Date of the conference: 24.-28.05.2018
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Medien- und Kommunikationswisseschaft (Vorderer 2010-)
Subject: 380 Commerce, communications, transportation
Abstract: The use of smartphones has become indispensable for daily activities in today’s world and enables users to be permanently online and permanently connected. More and more recently it has become a commonplace observation that people use their smartphones even in presence of others, for instance during face to face (f2f) communication. This so-called phenomenon of phubbing has become of increasing interest to academic research. So far, quantitative and qualitative studies of smartphone use in moments of physical co-presence produced contradictory results: Smartphones were considered either as a source of disturbance or an enrichment to the conversation. This inconsistency can be explained in terms of insufficient levels of differentiation between types of use in previous research. Therefore, the present study aimed at investigating potential effects of smartphone use in moments of physical co-presence in a more differentiated manner by asking: To what extent does the type of smartphone use during f2f communication (proactive, reactive, integrative) influence the perceived conversational quality as well as the attentiveness and politeness of the conversational partner?

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