Exploring the relationship between impulsivity and decision-making on mobile devices

Debora Jeske, Pamela Briggs, Lynne Coventry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


Mobile devices offer a common platform for both leisure and work-related tasks, but this has resulted in a blurred boundary between home and work. In this paper, we explore the security implications of this blurred boundary, both for the worker and the employer. Mobile workers may not always make optimal security-related choices when “on the go” and more impulsive individuals may be particularly affected as they are considered more vulnerable to distraction. In this study, we used a task scenario, in which 104 users were asked to choose a wireless network when responding to work demands while out of the office. Eye-tracking data was obtained from a subsample of 40 of these participants in order to explore the effects of impulsivity on attention. Our results suggest that impulsive people are more frequent users of public devices and networks in their day-to-day interactions and are more likely to access their social networks on a regular basis. However, they are also likely to make risky decisions when working on-the-go, processing fewer features before making those decisions. These results suggest that those with high impulsivity may make more use of the mobile Internet options for both work and private purposes, but they also show attentional behavior patterns that suggest they make less considered security-sensitive decisions. The findings are discussed in terms of designs that might support enhanced deliberation, both in the moment and also in relation to longer term behaviors that would contribute to a better work–life balance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-557
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jul 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2016


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