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Survey on Mobility and Mobile Communication, 2012 [United States] (ICPSR 36426)

Principal Investigator(s): Bayer, Joseph, University of Michigan; Campbell, Scott, University of Michigan; Dal Cin, Sonya, University of Michigan


The Survey on Mobility and Mobile Communication was designed to obtain information about how individuals move and interact with others in their daily lives as well as the the psychological factors underlying contemporary communication.

A total of 925 participants completed an online survey. Information was collected on respondents' everyday walking and driving patterns, mobile communication patterns, in-depth cognitive dimensions of mobile communication (automaticity, immersion), psychological trait/personality measures (mindfulness, self-control), psychological orientations related to mobile communication (texting identity, texting impulsivity), and risky driving behavior.

Of the 925 cases, a sub-sample of 250 respondents was randomly selected to test how automatic texting tendencies (highly unconscious) and immersive texting tendencies (highly conscious) are related to each other (Study 1). A second sub-sample of 526 was randomly selected to evaluate how the resulting model of texting consciousness relates to global self-regulation at the personality level (Study 2). Finally, the full sample of 925 cases was used to evaluate whether texting consciousness and generalized personality measures predict the rate of distracted driving.

Demographic variables include age, sex, and whether the respondent was a student at the University of Michigan.

Access Notes

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Study Description


Bayer, Joseph, Scott Campbell, and Sonya Dal Cin. Survey on Mobility and Mobile Communication, 2012 [United States]. ICPSR36426-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-05-12. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36426.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36426.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    cellular phones, communication, control, driving habits, self evaluation, social media, technology, texting, transportation

Smallest Geographic Unit:    None

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2012-07--2013-07

Date of Collection:   

  • 2012-07--2013-07

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    The universe for this collection includes (1) undergraduate students over the age of 18 in communication studies and psychology classes at the University of Michigan and (2) workers over the age of 18 from Amazon Mechanical Turk in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data



A total of 925 participants completed online surveys in late 2012. The sample was composed of two convenience sub-samples: 313 undergraduate students from communication studies and psychology classes and 612 workers from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) in the United States. In recognition of their participation, students received partial course credit and MTurk workers received 80 cents. Participants were required to be mobile phone users and texting (SMS) users to participate in the complete survey of psychological processes.

As student convenience samples have very limited generalizability, the large online sample from Mechanical Turk was utilized to provide a more diverse sample for this study. Survey respondents who failed two or more attention checks were removed from the study. In the data, the attention check variables are Avg_7, Read_1, and Mind_1. A sub-sample of 250 respondents was randomly selected for Study 1 and a second sub-sample of 526 was randomly selected for Study 2. The Study 1 and Study 2 sub-samples can be selected using the Study_1 and Study_2 indicator variables, respectively.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    There are no weight variables associated with this data collection.

Mode of Data Collection:    web-based survey

Presence of Common Scales:    The data include several Likert-type scales on texting, texting frequency and affect, texting automaticity, and texting immersion. Texting frequency was collected for each of the four texting subbehaviors (starting texts, sending texts, checking texts, and reading texts) using a 9-point interval scale ranging from 1 "Never" to 9 "About every 10 minutes." Participants responded to the texting identity and affect questions on a scale ranging from 1 "Not at all" to 7 "Just like me." Four item scales of automaticity were used to measure automaticity across the four different texting subbehaviors (16 items total). Automaticity measures were based on the experimentally validated Self-Report Habit Index. In parallel with automaticity, 4-item scales of immersion were used for each of the texting operationalizations (16 items total). To assess mindfulness, a shortened, 15-item version of the Five Factor Mindfulness Questionnaire was used. To assess trait self-control, an updated version of the Brief Self-Control Scale was utilized. To assess the frequency with which individuals engaged in dangerous texting behaviors, the investigators asked participants to report how frequently they checked, read, started, or sent texts while walking down the sidewalk, while crossing the street, while driving a moving vehicle, and while driving a car stopped at an intersection. Answers ranged from 1 "Never" to 5 "Almost always."

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2016-05-12

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