Feeds

Fallen in love with your PC?

You're not alone, research shows

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

People get so emotionally attached to computers that they are prepared to queue to use their favourite one.

This truly baffling* finding comes from researchers at Pennsylvania State University. They wanted to know just how far people would go to use a particular machine so they monitored students using the university's 800 computer terminals, looking for interesting patterns in their behaviour.

They found that people prefer to use one or two particular machines, even when others are available. Some students would even queue for access to 'their' computer. According to Professor Shyam Sundar, this is because we tend to attribute human characteristics to computers. (Computers, of course, hate it when we do this.)

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Sundar said that our habit of anthropomorphising our digital friends has implications for how we treat information on the Web.

"We increasingly view computers as sources of information not just mediums of information. We attribute social characteristics and treat them as autonomous," he said. This, he cautioned, could lead to people placing too much faith in information garnered from the Web, to the extent that we could chose it above a more reliable alternative.

The study could also be useful for advertisers: Professor Sundar suggests that companies would do well to play on our emotional attachement to our machines by marketing them as something that grows with us, rather than as disposable tools. ®

*As in: Surely there are enough things we have to queue for already...do we have to invent extra ones for ourselves?

Related stories

My best friend is a PC
Toxic PCs destroy life as we know it
Auditing the mind of a hacker

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.