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Exploring the relationship between impulsivity and decision-making on mobile devices

Jeske, Debora; Briggs, Pam; Coventry, Lynne


Debora Jeske

Pam Briggs

Lynne Coventry


Mobile devices offer a common platform for both leisure and work-related tasks but this has resulted in a blurred boundary between home and work. In this paper we explore the security implications of this blurred boundary, both for the worker and the employer. Mobile workers may not always make optimum security-related choices when ‘on the go’ and more impulsive individuals may be particularly affected as they are considered more vulnerable to distraction. In this study we used a task scenario, in which 104 users were asked to choose a wireless network when responding to work demands while out of the office. Eye-tracking data was obtained from a subsample of 40 of these participants in order to explore the effects of impulsivity on attention. Our results suggest that impulsive people are more frequent users of public devices and networks in their day-to-day interactions and are more likely to access their social networks on a regular basis. However they are also likely to make risky decisions when working on-the-go, processing fewer features before making those decisions. These results suggest that those with high impulsivity may make more use of the mobile Internet options for both work and private purposes but they also show attentional behavior patterns that suggest they make less considered security-sensitive decisions. The findings are discussed in terms of designs that might support enhanced deliberation, both in the moment and also in relation to longer term behaviors that would contribute to a better work-life balance.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 12, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 1, 2016
Publication Date 2016-08
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 17, 2018
Journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
Print ISSN 1617-4909
Electronic ISSN 1617-4917
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 4
Pages 545-557
Keywords Management Science and Operations Research; Hardware and Architecture; Computer Science Applications
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date May 17, 2018


Exploring the relationship between impulsivity and decision-making on mobile devices (368 Kb)

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This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made

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