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Gertz, Marlene; Schütz-Bosbach, Simone ORCID: 0000-0002-0937-9454; Diefenbach, Sarah ORCID: 0000-0002-4347-5028 (2021): Smartphone and the Self. Experimental Investigation of Self-Incorporation of and Attachment to Smartphones. In: Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, Vol. 5, No. 11: pp. 1-16
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Smartphones are a constant companion in everyday life. Interacting with a smartphone calls for a multimodal input and often leads to a multisensory output. Combining research in human-computer interaction (HCI) and psychology, the present research explored the idea that a smartphone is more than a smart object but represents an object to which people feel emotionally attached to and which is even perceived as a part or an extension of a person’s self. To this end, we used an established rubber hand illusion paradigm to experimentally induce body ownership experiences in young adults (n = 76) in a 4-level mixed-design study. Our results revealed that in contrast to a neutral control object participants indeed felt attached to a smartphone, perceived it as a part of themselves and felt the need to interact with the device. This was specifically pronounced when hedonic characteristics were evaluated as high and when its usage for social communication was highlighted during the experiment. Psychological mechanisms of the incorporation of technologies are discussed and connected to positive and negative effects of smartphone usage on human behavior, its implications for technology design and marketing.