“Can you hear me now?”:
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“Can you hear me now?”: The paradoxes of techno-intimacy via the use of mobile communication technology in public. Kathleen M. Cumiskey, Ph.D. The College of Staten Island The City University of New York (CUNY). OVERVIEW OF TALK.

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“Can you hear me now?”:The paradoxes of techno-intimacy via the use of mobile communication technology in public.

Kathleen M. Cumiskey, Ph.D.

The College of Staten Island

The City University of New York (CUNY)


Overview of talk
OVERVIEW OF TALK

  • Provide theoretical evidence for the effect of perspective-taking on explaining social behavior (attribution theory).

  • Report the results of research study = attribution theory as it relates to public mobile phone use.

  • Understanding attribution theory consciousness around biased interpretation of other people’s public mobile phone use as compared to own use.

  • The “techno-intimacy” paradox of maintaining dual role (as mobile user and observer to other’s use).


Theoretical foundations
Theoretical Foundations

  • attribution theory: how people explain the behaviors of others (often those in close proximity).

  • fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overestimate the role of dispositional factors and underestimate the role of situational factors in explaining others’ behavior.

  • self-serving bias: tendency to attribute behavior consistent with our self-image to our disposition and to attribute behavioral inconsistencies, to situational factors.

  • actor vs. observer duality: switching perspective does influence attribution process.


Research questions
Research Questions

  • Do people judge the mobile phone behavior of others differently than their own use?

  • Do people make dispositional attributions for the public mobile phone use of others?

  • Do people make situational attributions for their own use?

  • How does this impact the incorporation of the use of personalized mobile communication devices within public space?


Method
METHOD

  • Study conducted in New York City, at the College of Staten Island,

    in Staten Island.

  • Total number of participants: 171.

  • Mean age of the participants: 23.7 years old

    (range = 17 – 56 years old).

  • 112 participants were female (65.50 %) and 59 were male (34.50 %).

  • Two forms of a questionnaire consisting of 30 questions were used in this study.

    • “Self-survey” = questions related to participants’ own public mobile phone use (n = 84).

    • “Others survey” = questions related to other people’s public mobile phone use (n = 87).


Profile of participants as mobile phone users
Profile of Participants asMobile Phone Users

  • 89.5 % of participants (n = 153) currently owned and used a mobile phone.

  • Length of mobile phone use: from 2 weeks to 10 years; average use = 3 years.

  • Number of phone conversations per day: 0 to 30; over half of participants have at least 5 conversations a day.

  • Participants reported strong liking of having a mobile phone. The average rating was 4.21.




Legitimate use response
Legitimate Use Response

  • “I must begin by telling you that I have my phone for emergencies only so my conversations are not very interesting, my most recent was when I was shopping with my children and my husband called to tell me that he was home from work and gave his suggestions for dinner” (Female, 27, White, Upper middle class).


Legitimate use response1
Legitimate Use Response

Those taking the self survey reported:

  • They used their phone for emergencies only.

  • Their use was often determined by the situation:

    i.e. had to call to get help; had no other time to call

    -OR-

    “SOMEONE CALLED ME!”


Public mobile phone rudeness as indicator of attributional bias
Public mobile phone “rudeness” as indicator of attributional bias

  • “A very annoying woman speaking about her boss. She was very loud and didn't care about keeping her voice down. She was a huge gossip and spoke about a number of her co-workers. This woman just spoke about nonsense, things that she could have waited to speak about when she got home.” (Female, 25, White, Middle-class).


Public mobile phone rudeness as indicator of attributional bias1
Public mobile phone “rudeness” as indicator of attributional bias

Those taking the others survey reported:

  • Other people used their phones in public inappropriately.

  • Participants made dispositional attributions for others’ use (“they are rude”, “inconsiderate”).

  • Participants felt ignored, disrespected by other’s use; noted other observers shared in the discomfort.


Attentiveness and satisfaction
ATTENTIVENESS AND SATISFACTION

  • Attentiveness is key to responsible public mobile phone use.

  • The “techno-intimacy” of mobile phone use may satisfy ourselves, yet it “threatens” those in close proximity to us.

  • The tenor of “face-to-face” interaction is changed.



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