How Handheld Mobile Device Size and Hand Location May Affect Divided Attention by Spencer Castro is a research study. Castro (2017) explores how mobile devices’ screen size affects attention when interacting with multiple displays simultaneously. The author argues that screen size affects a person’s attention capability and multitasking performance concerning the background device. However, screen size and other variables do not influence the person’s performance on the mobile device.
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At the beginning of the article, the author discusses how various social groups, in particular adolescents, often use different mobile devices. Castro (2017) also describes how the increasing number of mobile device users correlates with public safety indicators. Various scientific sources and official statistics support the reasoning. The researcher formulates such a research question as to how mobile devices’ design aspects, such as screen size and device dimensions, affect people’s attention capacity and multitasking performance (Castro, 2017). The author also draws attention to the fact that there is a small amount of research on this topic.
The author of the study conducted two experiments to find answers to the research question. The first experiment was conducted to evaluate human reaction time changes during dual-task activities with a frontal mobile device and a background stationary device (Castro, 2017). The first experiment involved about fifty participants. The second experiment implied activity only with mobile devices with different screen sizes in order to assess their impact on human attention capability (Castro, 2017). According to Castro (2017), about one hundred and twenty participants took part in the experiment, but few of them had to be excluded from the sample due to software problems. Graphs and photographs support the text segment that describes the progress of both experiments.
Analysis of the data obtained through experiments showed several results. Castro (2017) argues that there is a causation between screen size and increased response moment to the stationary device. The larger the screen size of a frontal phone or tablet, the more time a person spends on responding to a background monitor and the more things they miss. The author also points out that the screen size does not affect the reaction time if the activity is of a single-task nature (Castro, 2017). However, mobile devices with large screens are more attention-demanding.
Castro claims that the defining parameter of mobile devices responsible for the increased participants’ response time is the size of the screen and not the weight, hand distance, display dimensions, or other variables. The author also clarifies such possible research limitations as specifics of the tasks that were determined for frontal mobile phones and tablets in the course of two-task and single-task experiments (Castro, 2017). Castro also identifies such an influencing factor as the chosen positioning for the background stationary devices, namely, behind or above the frontal mobile device.
Castro explains that this study will be useful for designers and users of mobile devices, as well as for people who work with multi-screen tools. The author emphasizes that this research should not be applied in aviation and other driving activities because a specific topic was considered (Castro, 2017). Castro also advises other researchers to focus future works on factors such as hand distance, hands on the screen, and other social groups such as older adults.
Castro, Spencer C. (2017). How handheld mobile device size and hand location may affect divided attention. University of California.
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