The University of Texas at Dallas
I used this study to examine the relationship between phone type usage in couples in a romantic relationship and the satisfaction in that romantic relationship. I wanted to compare relationship satisfaction between couples who use the same type of phone and couples who use different types of phones. I conducted my experiment via an online survey on Qualtrics. I hypothesized that couples who use the same type of phone would report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship. The results of my experiment were not significant.
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The question of how to find the ‘best’ partner for a romantic relationship has been up for debate for years with no real concrete, certain answer. Should one go about finding a romantic partner similar to oneself or someone who is in many ways different, complementing one’s own fundamental beliefs about and approaches to life while simultaneously challenging these beliefs and approaches, forcing an individual to grow? Here, enters the question of a correlation with phone type and satisfaction in a romantic relationship. Studies have shown that people with certain personality traits are drawn to certain phones (Shaw, Ellis, Kendrick, Ziegler, & Wiseman 2016). Another study conducted in Taiwan looked at the relationship between the different zodiac signs and phone preferences for each sign (Leu 2008). Many people use the zodiac as an indicator as to whether or not two people would be a good match in a romantic relationship. Though the use of the zodiac to guess the success of a romantic relationship is more complex than stating whether or not two people are either more similar or different to one another, the fundamental idea of certain people having certain characteristics and then using a system to analyze two peoples’ set of characteristics to determine whether or not they will make a good romantic match is consistent with arguments for either people with similar or different values and approaches to life making the best romantic match. This assumes that each zodiac sign corresponds to a certain, specific ideology – an extremely doubtful and far-stretched conclusion. Conroy-Beam, Goetz, and Buss (2016) presented interesting research regarding relationship satisfaction as a result of fulfillment of mate preferences in their partner, as well as mate value discrepancies – that is the magnitude of the difference of their mate compared to their ideal mate. Conry-Beam, Goetz, and Buss’s article shows the complexity of romantic relationships and that many factors make up relationship satisfaction. Is it possible that phone type usage makes up a significant component of satisfaction in a romantic relationship?
Here enters my question: Do people who have the same type of phone in a romantic relationship have a higher level of satisfaction in their relationship or is it vice versa? If it is found that people with the same phone have a higher level of satisfaction in their romantic relationship, it can be concluded that people with similar personalities, belief systems, etc. work better in romantic relationships. On the other hand, it is just as likely that the results of this study will show that people who have different types of phones have a higher satisfaction level in their romantic relationship, supporting the idea that ‘opposites attract.’
Although a significant amount of research has been done on romantic relationships and analysis of what allows for satisfaction in a romantic relationship and there is a fair amount of research regarding personality types and phone usage, I have not been able to find any research that connects phone usage with romantic couples. A significant portion of the research available on phone usage is also focused on how to best market phones to individuals. Although this objective makes sense, it is also imperative to keep in mind that these exact phones will allow individuals to connect with others. It is extremely important to consider how a certain type of phone may affect an individual’s relationships. I hope that by presenting this novel concept and connection, people will become more aware of the interactions they have with their partners in romantic relationships and that some may even consider choosing a different phone in order to enhance their romantic relationship.
I hypothesize that couples who both use the same type of phone will report a higher relationship satisfaction level than couples who do not both use the same type of phone.
I recruited a total of twenty participants for the study via Facebook. I felt Facebook was a good platform to recruit participants because I would get a wide range of data in terms of demographics (i.e. age, length of relationship, etc.). One participant’s data was immediately discarded because both members of the relationship answered the survey; although this data would have been very helpful, this was the only instance where both members of the relationship answered the survey, so using this one set of data would not have been congruent with the rest of the data I collected. I did not use the majority of data collected in order to create balanced groups. Twelve people in relationships provided data stating both they and their partner use the same type of phone while only seven people responded stating they and their partner used different types of phones (the data that was originally discarded because both members of the couple answered the survey fell into the category of different phone use in the couple). Ultimately, in order to create balanced groups, only the first seven entries were used from the group of similar phone users. Twelve of the participants were female and two participants were male.
I created a short, six question survey via UTD’s Qualtrics program. The first two questions asked for the participant’s first name and their partner’s first name in case both people in the relationship completed the survey in order to match their responses. Although there was only one instance in which both members of the couple answered the survey, it was imperative to know whether both members of the couple answered the survey. In this particular case, the data from one of the members in the relationship where both individuals answered the survey was discarded. The third question asked for the participant’s gender. The fourth and fifth questions asked for the type of phone the participant used and the type of phone their partner uses. The final, sixth question asked for the participant’s level of satisfaction in their relationship on a sliding scale from 0-100.
I recruited participants via Facebook. I posted a link to the survey created on Qualtrics on my Facebook profile and asked Facebook friends to participate. After twenty surveys were submitted, I analyzed the data to determine if there is a difference between similar phone type usage among romantic couples and satisfaction in that romantic relationship. I used a statistical t-test to compare the two groups: 1. Couples who both use the same type of cellular phone and 2. Couples who use different types of cellular phones. The t-test was an independent groups test. Since I only received seven surveys indicating couples used different types of phones, I only used the first seven out of a total of twelve surveys indicating same phone usage in both members of a romantic couple, in order to create balanced groups. I used an online t-test program at www.graphpad.com to complete the t-test.
There was no significant difference between the two groups of couples with either the same or different types of phones, t(12) = 0.041, p>.05. (See Table 1 for average satisfaction levels of the two different groups.)
Although the results of this experiment were not significant, I believe this type of test/experiment could lead to important information for people in a romantic relationship on how to best communicate with their partners using their phones and possible disturbances in communication caused by different types of cell phone use amongst couples in a romantic relationship. Couples who both used the same type of phone had a slightly higher average relationship satisfaction level than couples who used different types of phones. Although the difference was so small that I cannot state whether the data supports my hypothesis that couples in romantic relationships who use the same type of phone will experience higher level of satisfaction in their romantic relationship, I think there is a definite possibility that given more time and a larger sample size, a difference of significant value between the two groups (those with the same type of phone and those with different phone types) can be obtained.
My experiment had many limitations. The most significant limitation was sample size. Each group only had seven participants. Although this sample size was smaller than desirable, I anticipated an even lower number of participants to report use of a different phone than their partner. I was happily surprised to receive seven surveys reporting different phone use.
Other limitations to my experiment included lack of control for age of participants, length of the romantic relationship, whether or not the couple has children (a common stressor in a romantic relationship), how long each member of the couple has used their given type of phone (in terms of how familiar each participant is with their type of phone, possibly making it easier or more difficult to communicate with their partner), and what phone model each partner uses (older phones as well as brand new phones may have more problems with their system either being older and out of date, making it more difficult to use, or, conversely, being so new that not all the bugs/kinks have been worked out of the phone and its operating system).
Areas of Future Research
Hopefully similar studies can be conducted in the future in order to obtain significant results on phone usage and romantic relationship satisfaction. If significant results are obtained, this may lead couples to seriously consider switching to the same type of phone as their partner if they are not already using the same type of phone. If both partners are using the same type of phone, hopefully it will allow for and lead to better, more consistent communication in their relationship. Future research in this area may lead to phone developers using this information to promote the argument for similar phone use amongst both partners in a romantic relationship, which may lead to increased sales of a certain type of phone.
Conroy-Beam, D., Goetz, C. D., & Buss, D. M. (2016). What predicts romantic relationship satisfaction and mate retention intensity: mate preference fulfillment or mate value discrepancies? Evolution and Human Behavior,37(6), 440-448. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.04.003
Leu, J. (2008). The correlation between Taiwan consumers’ sense towards mobile phone brands and his personality characteristics through data mining analysis. Journal of Statistics and Management Systems,11(2), 341-351. doi:10.1080/09720510.2008.10701315
Shaw, H., Ellis, D. A., Kendrick, L., Ziegler, F., & Wiseman, R. (2016). Predicting Smartphone Operating System from Personality and Individual Differences. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking,19(12), 727-732. doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0324
Table 1. Mean satisfaction scores for couples with same phones (N=7) and couples with different phones (N=7). Standard deviation of satisfaction scores also provided.