Culture

iPhone users more dishonest, says study

Technically Incorrect: A comparison study of Android and iPhone users shows some startling differences between the two.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A sign of dishonesty? Surely not.

James Martin/CNET

Do you believe your phone says something about you?

If so, what does it say? That you're suave, design-conscious and the epitome of style? That you're a person of the people, not at all concerned with being suave, design-conscious or the epitome of style?

I merely ask because of research performed by large brains at the universities of Lincoln and Lancaster in the UK.

They talked to 530 people over 2015 and 2016 about their phones and their feelings. And what results ensued.

To quote the researchers: "We found that iPhone owners are more likely to be female, younger, and increasingly concerned about their smartphone being viewed as a status object."

So the rumors are true? Apple is all about the external show?

But there's more. More internal stuff, that is.

"Key differences in personality were also observed with iPhone users displaying lower levels of Honesty-Humility and higher levels of emotionality," say the researchers.

One might conclude that iPhone owners are more dishonest, more full of themselves and highly prone to emotional outbursts? I fear that some will want to extrapolate to an analysis of our president-elect.

His staff are said to tweet from an iPhone, while the president himself is more of an Android man.

In this research, many traits of the average Android user seem to fit with the Trumpian image. Androiders are supposedly older, more honest and agreeable, less likely to break rules for personal gain and not so keen on wealth, status and all the New Yorkish trappings of life.

The study was originally presented in September at the British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section annual conference. But it was fully formalized and finally published last week in the j0urnal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Researcher David Ellis told me that he and his team did have preconceptions.

"We expected that iPhone users would be younger and more extroverted for example," he said. "We also predicted that iPhone users would be more likely to view their phone as a status object."

All this came to pass. However, Ellis said that they were surprised that iPhone users turned out to see themselves as less honest.

He explained that once the researchers began their work, they became quite good at predicting what phone people had.

"We were able to build a statistical model that, after asking people a few questions about themselves, could predict what type of phone they had in their pocket about 70 percent of the time," he said.

It's a long way, though, from discovering causal relationships.

Ellis thinks that more would be learned if the next study could look at those who switch from one phone to another.

What happens in their heads? Could it be just marketing? Wouldn't that be a terrible thing? Dishonest, even.