Battery-Level Decision-Making

Boys, Batteries and Behaviour: Smartphone Battery Levels and Sexual Decision Making Among Men Who Have Sex with Men - Alex Lopes, Kaylee Skoda, & Cory L. Pedersen

 

Smartphone-dating and hook-up apps are undeniable factors in the modern landscape of sexuality. In particular, gay and bisexual men have bridged social and societal barriers for connection by using these apps. Despite advantages afforded by such technological advancements, when individuals are faced with a low phone battery, a sense of urgency may be experienced, which can increase risk-taking behaviours to accommodate an impending phone “death”. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a draining smartphone battery would facilitate a greater likelihood of agreeing to a hookup encounter. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three battery life condition groups (5%, 20%, 100%) and were asked how likely they were to agree to a hookup with a simulated potential sexual partner. We discovered that, relative to a full battery condition, participants were more likely to agree to a hookup in the lowest battery condition. Additionally, men who reported a greater likelihood of agreeing to a hookup also endorsed a greater propensity for sensation seeking, regardless of the battery condition.

 

These findings have practical implications for educating smartphone users who utilize dating and hookup apps about how scarcity decision-making and sensation-seeking can impact the ability to practice safe sexual behaviours.

Poster presentation delivered at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Montreal QC, 2018.

Article published in the journal, Sexuality and Culturedoi: 10.1007/s12119-019-09620-8