Your choice of smartphone reveals more about you than you might care to imagine. Researchers from the Universities of Lincoln and Lancaster in the UK found that iPhone users are a bunch of unlikeable, image-obsessed liars in comparison to Android phone owners. Heather Shaw, co-author of the study, explains why people with certain personality traits are more attracted to iPhones.
Why did you decide to look into the personality traits of smartphone users?
Smartphones are highly customizable. We wanted to investigate what a person's choice of either an iPhone or Android phone says about the user's personality.
And what does a person's smartphone choice say about them?
It is becoming apparent that smartphones are a mini version of its user. We don't like it when someone uses our smartphone because it can reveal so much about us. This provides us with important information about the relationship humans have with technology; we place part of our self-identity in the technology that we use.
What research went into this study?
In study one, 529 smartphone users completed an online personality test. Thirty-eight percent were Android users and 54 percent were iPhone users. We also asked them for details such as their age, gender and socio-economic status.
In study two, we wanted to see whether we could predict if a person owned an iPhone or an Android phone. We asked 221 participants to answer questions on their personality and demographics, and then showed them their smartphone prediction. We then asked them whether this prediction was accurate.
What were the results?
In study one, we found that Android users were older, displayed higher levels of honesty-humility traits, were more open, and avoided similarity more than iPhone users. Android users also had lower emotionality scores and felt that a smartphone is less of a status object. Interestingly, iPhone users were not higher in socio-economic status than Android users. In study two, we managed to predict what smartphone a person owned to an accuracy of 70 percent.
Why are iPhone users more likely to be emotional and untrustworthy?
IPhone and Android smartphones have different apps, technical specs, and functionalities, which might cause people who have certain personality traits to be attracted to one brand over the other. You might also buy a smartphone to become closer to your ideal self. A more controversial idea is that we embody the semantics and characteristics of the technology we own. So if you buy an iPhone, over time you start acting like typical iPhone users.
Why is your study important?
It might be possible to pick a technology that is more suited to you based on your personality traits and demographics. We can predict what technology a person owns or might own in future based on their personality traits and demographics.
It is possible that people’s downloaded apps, or their smartphone use patterns are telling of their personality or lifestyle, so this can be investigated in follow up studies. We are interested in continuing research which investigates how mobile technology and people are integrating and merging, and how this resultantly influences human behavior.