Push Away the Smartphone

Investigating Methods to Counter Problematic Smartphone Use

Are you concerned about how much of your time your phone steals? If so, what can you do about it if you don’t want to – or can’t – use self-control or restrictive measures?

We will be presenting our research in a LBW poster session at CHI in Glasgow in 2019.

With my co-researchers Jose Ingacio Rocca, Ben Cowan and Russell Beale, we trialled the use of a nonconscious behaviour change technique, approach bias retraining, on a Tabletop surface. We examined whether repeated actions of pushing away smartphones and pulling books towards you might have an impact on automatic tendencies to reach for phones.

Figure pushing an image of a smartphone away
Tabletop approach bias retraining

Our quantitative analysis (n=40) showed that self-report and response-time based measures of problematic smartphone usage diverge. We found no evidence that our intervention altered reaction time-based measures. Our paper outlines areas of discussion for further research in the field.

You can download the author’s version of the paper here and access a short video of a participant interacting with the application here.

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