The heritability and genetic correlates of mobile phone use: a twin study of consumer behavior

Miller, Geoffrey, Zhu, Gu, Wright, Margaret J., Hansell, Narelle K. and Martin, Nicholas G. (2012) The heritability and genetic correlates of mobile phone use: a twin study of consumer behavior. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 15 1: 97-106. doi:10.1375/twin.15.1.97

Author Miller, Geoffrey
Zhu, Gu
Wright, Margaret J.
Hansell, Narelle K.
Martin, Nicholas G.
Title The heritability and genetic correlates of mobile phone use: a twin study of consumer behavior
Journal name Twin Research and Human Genetics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1832-4274
Publication date 2012-01-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1375/twin.15.1.97
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Start page 97
End page 106
Total pages 10
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Abstract There has been almost no overlap between behavior genetics and consumer behavior research, despite each field's importance in understanding society. In particular, both have neglected to study genetic influences on consumer adoption and usage of new technologies - even technologies as important as the mobile phone, now used by 5.8 out of 7.0 billion people on earth. To start filling this gap, we analyzed self-reported mobile phone use, intelligence, and personality traits in two samples of Australian teenaged twins (mean ages 14.2 and 15.6 years), totaling 1,036 individuals. ACE modeling using Mx software showed substantial heritabilities for how often teens make voice calls (.60 and.34 in samples 1 and 2, respectively) and for how often they send text messages (.53 and. 50). Shared family environment - including neighborhood, social class, parental education, and parental income (i.e., the generosity of calling plans that parents can afford for their teens) - had much weaker effects. Multivariate modeling based on cross-twin, cross-trait correlations showed negative genetic correlations between talking/texting frequency and intelligence (around -.17), and positive genetic correlations between talking/texting frequency and extraversion (about.20 to.40). Our results have implications for assessing the risks of mobile phone use such as radiofrequency field (RF) exposure and driving accidents, for studying adoption and use of other emerging technologies, for understanding the genetic architecture of the cognitive and personality traits that predict consumer behavior, and for challenging the common assumption that consumer behavior is shaped entirely by culture, media, and family environment. Copyright
Keyword Behavior genetics
Product usage
Mobile phones
Consumer research
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID A7960034
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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