Mobile Phone Behavior: An Emerged Discipline of Research

Mobile Phone Behavior: An Emerged Discipline of Research

Zheng Yan (University at Albany, State University of New York, USA) and Quan Chen (University at Albany, State University of New York, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch034
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Mobile phones are becoming the most ubiquitous technology in the history. Researchers in various disciplines of behavioral sciences have been extensively examining how people use mobile phones and what influences mobile phone use have on people's lives for nearly 25 years. This chapter attempts to provide an overall picture of the science of mobile phone behavior by describing the past, present, and future of this emerged discipline of study in behavioral sciences. It provides a detailed review of five major areas and six specific topics of mobile phone behavior research and a brief outline of three directions of future research.
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The Past Of Mobile Phone Behavior Research

The Earliest Publication

To examine the history of the mobile phone research, it is necessary to determine the earliest publication as the formal starting point of the field. Based on our studies and consultations, Karel Brookhuis and his collaborators’ (Brookhuis, de Vries, & de Waard, 1991) article entitled The effects of mobile telephoning on driving performance published on Accident Analysis and Prevention could be considered as the first published study on mobile phone behavior from the perspective of behavioral sciences and thus the formal starting point of the mobile phone behavior literature.

In this study, 12 adults participated in a three-week study. Each of them drove 1 hour every weekday. They used two modified Volvo as well as multiple measures, including lane tracker for lateral position, event reorder for a keyboard input, electrocardiogram for cardiac inter-beat-intervals, video camera for review mirror check, potentiometer, speed radar, and distance laser. By comparing driving while using mobile phones and driving without calling, they found (1) differences in turn control for light traffic but no difference for heavy traffic, (2) no difference steering control in for light traffic but difference for heavy traffic, (3) no difference in rear view checking for light traffic but differences for heavy traffic, (4) no difference in car following for both light and heavy traffic, but speed change delay 600 ms and braking delay 130 ms while using mobile phones, and (5) higher heart rate due to mental workload for both light and heavy traffic while using phones.

This first empirical study demonstrates two important features in the very beginning of the mobile phone behavior research. First, it chose an urgent and timely issue. It focused on driving safety rather than other common topics such as daily usage. It was published as early as 1991 when the mobile phone just started to use by ordinary users in developed counties. Second, it used rigorous experimental methods to collect multiple data rather than questionnaire survey or other commonly observed data collection methods. It is indeed pleasant to see a field of research started with such intellectual strengths.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Phone: Mobile phone has multiple similar names, such as cellular phone, mobile phone, hand phone, basic phones, smartphones, iPhones, and satellite phones, that in general can be used interchangeably. However, mobile phones are not cordless phones, car phones, radio phones.

Mobile Phone Behavior: It generally refers to any physical, cognitive, social, or emotional activity that humans engage in while using mobile phones.

Mobile Phone Behavior Research: An emerged field of study that has a history of nearly 25 years. It is a multi-domain multi-disciplinary field of research, examining various human behaviors such as m-learning, m-banking, and m-therapy across various disciplines such as psychology, sociology, communication, health, law, business, economics, and political science.

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