Consumers say their decision to buy smartphones with bigger screens may be as much emotional as practical, according to new research from Penn State University. Healthcare providers are increasingly integrating their smartphone to manage their work calendar, as well as communicate clinical or administrative information.

“There are so many things on smartphones that we can use, but an even more powerful factor of the larger screen is its hedonic aspect — how attractive and pleasing it is to users,” said S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State. He led a team of researchers in assigning smartphones with different screen sizes to 130 people and then evaluated their thoughts.

Screen size has increased the bandwidth of user interactions on smartphones, Sundar noted. Smartphone engineers, however, cannot increase the size regularly, as there will be a point where it becomes too large to carry conveniently, he said.