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Perspect Psychol Sci. 2012 May;7(3):221-37. doi: 10.1177/1745691612441215.

The Smartphone Psychology Manifesto.

Author information

1
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque gfmiller@unm.edu.

Abstract

By 2025, when most of today's psychology undergraduates will be in their mid-30s, more than 5 billion people on our planet will be using ultra-broadband, sensor-rich smartphones far beyond the abilities of today's iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries. Although smartphones were not designed for psychological research, they can collect vast amounts of ecologically valid data, easily and quickly, from large global samples. If participants download the right "psych apps," smartphones can record where they are, what they are doing, and what they can see and hear and can run interactive surveys, tests, and experiments through touch screens and wireless connections to nearby screens, headsets, biosensors, and other peripherals. This article reviews previous behavioral research using mobile electronic devices, outlines what smartphones can do now and will be able to do in the near future, explains how a smartphone study could work practically given current technology (e.g., in studying ovulatory cycle effects on women's sexuality), discusses some limitations and challenges of smartphone research, and compares smartphones to other research methods. Smartphone research will require new skills in app development and data analysis and will raise tough new ethical issues, but smartphones could transform psychology even more profoundly than PCs and brain imaging did.

KEYWORDS:

GPS/GIS; behavioral informatics; digital sensors; human subjects/IRB issues; mobile computing; telecommunications

PMID:
26168460
DOI:
10.1177/1745691612441215

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