People who chat on their mobile phones in the movies or who have crippling phone bills tend to have particular personality types, say Australian researchers.
Psychology lecturer Dr James Phillips and his team from Melbourne's Monash University say people who are more likely to get into trouble with their dangerous or disruptive mobile phone use are young, extroverts or people with low self-esteem.
Their study, published in the current issue of the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior, surveyed 195 people over 18 about how they used their mobile phones.
Among the questions the researchers asked were about the size of their phone bills, reasons for calls, and aches and pains linked to phone use, such as 'SMS thumb' brought on by lots of text messaging.
The researchers also asked if family and friends complained about their phone use; if they were late to appointments because they were on the phone; or if they became annoyed when someone asked them to switch off their phone.
The researchers did not ask about using the phone while driving as study participants may have lied to avoid incriminating themselves, which would have affected the results, says Phillips.
Participants also undertook psychological testing that Phillips says shows a clear correlation between personality type and problem phone use.
"These people don't appear to value what they are doing at a particular time," says Phillips.
"They may have spent $100 on a Paul McCartney ticket but even that isn't enough to get them to switch the phone off."
Different reasons for a huge phone bill
Phillips says people with different personality types use their phones for different reasons.
"Those with poor self-esteem are more likely to seek reassurance using their phones or they are unhappy and using their phones to reach out to others," he says.
"While the extroverts tend to be using them more to make social arrangements with a large network of friends."
Phillips says the results would help authorities develop advertising campaigns to target problem users to dangers like using a phone while driving, in hospitals and at petrol bowsers.
"If we can predict who is more likely to have problem and why then we can target them in advertising," says Phillips.
He said problem mobile phone use could be fixed as it was similar to a "very strong bad habit or bad priority".
Friday, December 09, 2005
By Catrina Purcell