Time to dress up my iPhone?

Penn State study examines cellphone bling across cultures.

iPhone case
Credit: Bob Brown, Network World

Penn State University researchers have found that decorating your mobile phone is largely a cultural thing, and it looks like I'm behaving pretty darn American on this front.

The study involved surveys of American and South Korean students, and found that the South Koreans were more likely to customize their phones, whether it be with charms, special ringtones, stickers or cases. 

"People who live in collectivist cultures are often more other-directed,"said S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State, in a statement. "They want to know how others might look at them and also look to others as a way of influencing their own behaviors."

Americans, meanwhile, are considered less likely to care about what others think, so don't dress up their phones as much. That would be me: My iPhone has a plain dark blue rubberized case on it that's mainly there to keep it from getting destroyed if I drop it, run over it with my car or whatever.

The South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education funded the study, whose results could prove useful to vendors looking for the best way to market their devices and accessories in different countries. The study is being published in a journal called Media Psychology.

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