Perceptions of Mobile Phone Use in Public Settings: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Scott W. Campbell


This study entailed a cross-cultural comparison of perceptions of mobile phone use in select public settings, including a movie theater, restaurant, bus, grocery store, classroom, and sidewalk. A sample of participants from the U.S. Mainland, Hawaii, Japan, Taiwan, and Sweden was surveyed for social acceptability assessments of talking on a mobile phone in each of these locations. As hypothesized, settings involving collective attention were considered least acceptable for talking on a mobile phone. Results also revealed numerous cultural similarities and differences. Taiwanese participants tended to report more tolerance for mobile phone use in a theater, restaurant, and classroom than did participants from the other cultural groupings. Japanese participants also tended to be more tolerant of mobile phone use in a classroom, but less tolerant of use on a sidewalk and on a bus than were the other participants. The discussion offers theoretical implications of the findings.

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