Emotions drive people to buy bigger screen smartphones

Washington: Ever wondered why people prefer smartphones with bigger screens? To fulfil their emotional needs!

While there may be numerous practical reasons for wanting a smartphone with a bigger screen, a new study, including an Indian-origin scientist, has found that many people are more motivated by an emotional need to own a bigger device.

People may find bigger screens more emotionally satisfying because they are using smartphones for entertainment, as well as for communication purposes, researchers said.

“There are basically two different reasons that ‘bigger is better’ for screen size: utilitarian reasons and affective, or emotional, reasons,” said S Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University.

“There are so many things on smartphones that we can use, but an even more powerful factor of the larger screen is its hedonic aspect – how attractive and pleasing it is to users,” said Sundar.

“The screen size has increased the bandwidth of user interactions on smartphones, making it more than a
talking-texting device.

“With high definition screens, people now can watch television and movies, as well as multi-task, something that wasn’t possible in earlier smartphone versions,” said Sundar.

The desire for larger screens that drives purchases of other entertainment devices may be part of the impulse to buy smartphones with larger screens, said Ki Joon Kim, from Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, who also worked on the study.

“Large-screen TVs and monitors are known to have positive effects on user experience. Our study found that the same applies to the mobile context as well,” said Kim.

Smartphone engineers cannot increase the size of the screen continually or the mobile device will become inconvenient to carry, researchers said.

“We have not reached the point where the screen is too big yet, and I believe there may be some room for expansion of the screen size,” said Sundar.

“Finding the idea size is something that I’m sure industry engineers and designers are working to find,” said Sundar.

Kim said that this appeal to both practical and emotional needs of users may indicate that smartphones can handle the merging of various forms of media.

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