Size of gadgets and posture while using devices affect user's behavior: Study

Size matters. That may be true for gadgets as a new study has concluded that the bigger the device one uses, the more likely one will be assertive. The posture of the owner while using the device may also determine behavior.

A study titled "iPosture: The Size of Electronic Consumer Devices Affects Our Behavior" published on the Faculty and Research website of the Harvard Business School looked into the power-related behaviors and how they are influenced by the size of a gadget being used and body posture.

"People are always interacting with their smartphones before a meeting begins, thinking of it as an efficient way to manage their time. We wanted to study how interacting with a device affected how people behave afterward," explained Maarten Bos, a post doctoral fellow at Harvard Business School.

"Grounded in research showing that adopting expansive body postures increases psychological power, we hypothesized that working on larger devices, which forces people to physically expand, causes users to behave more assertively," the abstract of the study stated.

The study follows the framework of a an earlier study done by Amy Cuddy, co-author of the new study and associate professor at the HBS, that looked into  expansive body postures or power poses affecting the body chemistry and leading to improved confidence, better self-image, and the willingness to take risks.

Bos and Cuddy tested their new hypothesis by recruiting 75 subjects and paying them to do some tasks that on different gadgets. They were randomly assigned to use an iPod Touch, iPad, MacBook Pro or an iMac while being monitored.

The subjects were given $2 after using a device for five minutes. They had the choice of waging the money on a double or nothing game and later on asked to complete a questionnaire.  Once done, the researcher will leave the room to get some forms and instruct the subject to wait or look for the researcher at the front desk.

Instead of returning, the researcher waited for 10 minutes and taking note if the subject will go to the front desk to ask.

Only 50 percent of those who used the iPod Touch went to the front desk and waited for 493 seconds on average. Meanwhile, 94 percent of those assigned to the desktop looked for the researcher waiting about 341 seconds on average.

The bigger postures were incidental to the device used but clearly influenced the behavior of the subjects.

"So, what we're thinking now is that you need at least a few minutes of interacting with a device, or, more importantly, of being in a specific posture related to that device, before you find effects," Bo pointed out.

While the study gives a nice insight to human behavior influenced by gadgets usage, more studies are recommend to understand more how posture affects behavior.

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