Smartphone-size screens constrain cognitive access to video news stories Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • 2019, 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Smartphones are expanding physical access to news and political information by making access to the internet available to more people, at more times throughout the day, and in more locations than ever before. But how does the portability of smartphonesafforded by their small sizeaffect cognitive access to news? Specifically, how do smartphone-size screens constrain attentiveness and arousal? We investigate how mobile technology constrains cognitive engagement through a lab-experimental study of individuals psychophysiological responses to network news on screens the size of a typical laptop computer, versus a typical smartphone. We explore heart rate variability, skin conductance levels, and the connection between skin conductance and the tone of news content. Results suggest lower levels of cognitive access to video news content on a mobile-sized screen, which has potentially important consequences for public attention to current affairs in an increasingly mobile media environment.

altmetric score

  • 90.48

author list (cited authors)

  • Dunaway, J., & Soroka, S.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Dunaway, Johanna||Soroka, Stuart

publication date

  • January 2021