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Randomized control trial on anticipation of smart phone habits
Last registered on November 30, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Randomized control trial on anticipation of smart phone habits
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006826
Initial registration date
November 29, 2020
Last updated
November 30, 2020 11:33 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
IE University
PI Affiliation
IE University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-11-02
End date
2020-12-20
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This research explores whether small monetary incentives are effective in reducing smartphone usage by 30% from subjects' baseline usage. In addition, we investigate whether our intervention leads to lasting behaviour change once the incentives are removed. We also study whether the anticipation of receiving incentives in the future, leads to a pre-emptive reduction of smartphone usage. Finally, the study will provide insights on the effects of reduced smartphone usage on educational performance and psychological outcomes, such as cognitive skills.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
PHAM QUANG, DUC, JEEVA SOMASUNDARAM and Laura Zimmermann. 2020. "Randomized control trial on anticipation of smart phone habits." AEA RCT Registry. November 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6826-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Small monetary incentives combined with a 30% reduction target.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-09
Intervention End Date
2020-11-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Daily smartphone screen time
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The daily smartphone usage over the experimental period elicited via screen time apps.
The smartphone usage data collection will be collected by asking subjects to activate a feature in the iPhone (Screen Time) or Android phone (an app called Screen Time downloadable from the Google Play Store). Subjects will take screenshots of their average weekly screen time usage and submit them via a survey.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Grade Point Average
Cognitive skills
Social network data
Sleep and Physical Activity
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
GPA data will be collected from the university
Cognitive skills:
- inhibitory functions (Stroop Color-Word Interference Test),
- reasoning (Nonsense Syllogism Test),
- self-reported measures distractibility, procrastination, self-control and smartphone dependence
Social network data (from the screenshots)
Sleep and physical activity will be elicited via screenshots of the iPhone Health app
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We test monetary incentives that are effective in reducing smartphone usage.
Experimental Design Details
Week 1: baseline screen time data collection

Subjects are randomized into two conditions.

(1) Control condition: No incentives or targets for rest of the experimental period

(2) Anticipation condition:

Treatment period
Week 2 (7 days): Informed about the next period's incentives and target
Week 3-4 (14 days): Incentivized 2 euros everyday the screentime is 30% less than the baseline usage

Post-treatment:
Week 5-7: no incentives or targets, follow-up screen time data collection

Randomization Method
Ramdomization done in R software.
Randomization Unit
At the individual level, each subject is randomly allocated to control or treatment condition.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1
Sample size: planned number of observations
69
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control Condition: 34
Treatment Condition: 35
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IE Research Committee
IRB Approval Date
2020-09-29
IRB Approval Number
IERC-03/2020-2021
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS