Study finds iPhone owners are less trustworthy than their Android counterparts


Psychologists from the universities of Lincoln, Lancaster, and Hertfordshire have come up with a statistical model that can predict whether you’re an iPhone or Android user with around 70% accuracy. The predicting factors it uses to make its guess don’t make happy reading for the iOS users among you, though.

“Key differences in personality were also observed with iPhone users displaying lower levels of Honesty-Humility and higher levels of emotionality,” the paper’s abstract reads. “In comparison to Android users, 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 how did the researchers reach the conclusion that iPhone users are (on average) superficial liars? Well, first they gathered 240 participants and asked them to complete a questionnaire about what characteristics they associated with iPhone and Android owners. Then they tested the assumed stereotypes against 530 real-world smartphone users and found that people’s stereotypes didn’t really match up with their actual findings.

Generally, they found Android users to be more honest, humble, agreeable and open than their iPhone-owning counterparts. They were also found to be generally older and more likely to be male. iPhone users, by contrast, saw their phone more of a status symbol while generally younger and more likely to be female.

“This study provides new insights into personality differences between different types of smartphone users. Smartphone choice is the most basic level of smartphone personalisation, and even this can tell us a lot about the user,” explained Heather Shaw from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology.

530 people may not sound like a huge number, but the researchers were still able to use their findings to build a statistical model that predicted whether a person used Android or iPhone with 70% accuracy based on a handful of questions about themselves.

As for what the researchers do next, there’s some debate. Shaw is curious about exploring the differences further, and seeing if app ownership follows a similar pattern. “Imagine if we further researched how personality traits relate to the applications people download. It is becoming more and more apparent that smartphones are becoming a mini digital version of the user, and many of us don’t like it when other people use our phones because it can reveal so much about us.”

Another possibility for further research is examining why people change from iOS to Android and vice versa. Are these people just harder to define, or do their traits change over time? Speaking as someone who started out with an iPhone 3GS before going Android, I am left wondering how much I’ve changed. I’m certainly older, but I don’t think I’m any less honest.

But then I would say that as a former iPhone user, right?

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