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Perceptions and misperceptions of smartphone use: Applying the social norms approach.

McAlaney, J., Almourad, M.B., Powell, G. and Ali, R., 2020. Perceptions and misperceptions of smartphone use: Applying the social norms approach. Information, 11 (11), -.

Full text available as:

information-11-00513.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


DOI: 10.3390/info11110513


The social norms approach is an established technique to bring about behaviour change through challenging misperceptions of peer behaviour. This approach is limited by a reliance on self-report and a lack of interactivity with the target population. At the same time, excessive use of digital devices, known as digital addiction, has been recognized as an emergent issue. There is potential to apply the social norms approach to digital addiction and, in doing so, address some of the limitations of the social norms field. In this study, we trialled a social norms intervention with a sample of smartphone users (n = 94) recruited from the users of a commercial app designed to empower individuals to reduce their device usage. Our results indicate that most of the sample overestimated peer use of smartphone apps, demonstrating the existence of misperceptions relating to smartphone use. Such misperceptions are the basis for the social norms approach. We also document the discrepancy between self-report and smartphone usage data as recorded through data collected directly from the device. The potential for the application of the social norms approach and directions for future research are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:social norms; digital addiction; smartphones; intervention; personality; behaviour change
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:34862
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:23 Nov 2020 12:12
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:25


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