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Mobile Social Networking Site Usage, Load Theory, and Distracted Walking Consequences

Sat, May 27, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 4, Sapphire 410B

Abstract

This research tests the relationships between SNS usage and distracted walking behavior on college campuses. Applying the load theory of attention, this paper argues that mobile SNS usage could lead to greater instances of pedestrian injury compared to other mobile phones usages, because these apps may divert more of pedestrians’ attentional resources away from their surroundings. The findings support the hypothesis that people who use image-based SNSs are likely to use these mobile SNS apps while walking; furthermore, performing the visual-manual tasks afforded by these SNS apps predicted higher instances of distracted walking consequences. The data also show that SNS Intensity predicted higher instances of mobile SNS app-related distracted walking behavior and smartphone feature-related distracted walking behavior. This study highlights the importance of load theory for understanding distracted walking behaviors and supports the argument that mobile SNS usage is an important variable to consider when examining distracted walking consequences.

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