More Than Just Gaze: An Experimental Vignette Study Examining How Phone-Gazing and Newspaper-Gazing and Phubbing-While-Speaking and Phubbing-While-Listening Compare in Their Effect on Affiliation

Mariek M. P. Vanden Abeele*, Marie Postma-Nilsenova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Gaze direction is a cue that regulates feelings of affiliation in social interactions. Phubbing research suggests that phone-gazing during a copresent interaction hampers the development of affiliation in interactions by signaling that one is not fully attentive. Because the phone represents the "virtual other," phone-gazing may be more detrimental than gazing at another object. This experimental vignette study explores whether phone-gazing during a conversation harms affiliation more than newspaper-gazing. Additionally, it examines whether the harmful impact of phubbing can be mitigated or aggravated by the phone gazer's interlocutor role-namely, that of speaker versus listener. The results reveal that phone-gazing during an interaction harms affiliation more than newspaper-gazing. Also, phone-gazing hampers affiliation more while listening than while speaking. These findings suggest that phone-gazing incurs unique judgments of relational devaluation in the interaction partner. The activation of these judgments, however, is contingent upon interlocutor role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-313
Number of pages11
JournalCommunication research reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Affiliation
  • Gaze
  • Mobile Phone
  • Nonverbal Behavior
  • Phubbing
  • Vignette Study

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