medium effects, emotional attachment to mobile phones, human-computer interaction, mobile phones
Abstract\r\nAs mobile phones become more integrated in the users’ everyday lives due to their enhanced functions and high portability, it has often been noted that users grow emotionally attached to their phones. Related research, however, has largely remained in the ethnographic, qualitative domain, calling for the need to assess users’ emotional attachment to mobile phones and its effects. The current study, using the experimental survey data of student samples from two large private universities in South Korea, explores how users’ emotional attachment to mobile phones translates to various dimensions of utility assessment of a task performed via the devices. The results confirmed that those who are more heavily attached to their mobile phones tend to evaluate the same task performed via their phones more positively. However, the study failed to illustrate significant differences between the two conditions in which participants used their own phones versus a given phone. Examination of the factors that could affect the level of users’ emotional attachment to their mobile phones showed that personalized mobile phone use was the strongest predictor for the intimate relationship that a user develops with his/her mobile phone. Interpretation of such findings and proposed direction for future research are discussed.