Connecting Through Smartphones: Cognitive, Social, Emotional Motivations, and the Experience of Value Perceptions

Song-Yi Youn, Purdue University


Smartphones became a dominant medium for communication with the emergence of converging technology. Since smartphones enable people to access various services, and to interact with other people within mobile social networks, users have become highly involved with such devices. To understand motivational factors associated with using smartphone, this study was informed by perceived cognition (i.e., expected outcomes) and social influence (i.e., social identity) from a social cognitive perspective, which was expanded to incorporate the dimension of emotional attachment. To develop its “motivational framework”, this study adopted social cognitive theory and attachment theory. This study also investigated the “experience of value perceptions” (i.e., perceived social, hedonic, and utilitarian values) that emerged concurrently with smartphone use. Moreover, consumption value theory was employed to understand the perceived values of smartphone users. Ultimately, a Motivation-Experience-Behavior (M-E-B) model was suggested for smartphone users. The main purpose of this study is to examine how different motivations influence perceived values of using the device, which consequently explains current smartphone use. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the proposed model. Data collected from 738 current smartphone users was analyzed. Regarding results, cognitive factors (i.e., information seeking, entertained activity, and self-reactiveness), and social influence (i.e., SNS social identity) explained value perceptions (i.e., social, hedonic, and utilitarian values). Expectations of social contact, however, did not explain value perception (i.e., social value). Effects of emotional attachment on value perceptions (i.e., social, hedonic, and utilitarian values) were detected. Consequently, perceived values influenced recent use of the smartphone. In addition, demographic differences (e.g., age, sex, socioeconomic status, and race) as regards such motivations were found, and demographic variables were further included in the model as control variables. Last, to examine sex differences in the hypothesized model, two different sex groups were compared. In the male group, motivation of entertainment activity did not explain hedonic value perception, and experiences of social and hedonic values importantly explained use of the smartphone. In the female group, motivation of self-reactiveness did not have an effect on hedonic value perception, and experiences of social and functional values had an effect on use of the smartphone.




Kowal, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Marketing|Social research|Information Technology

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server