Attributing Values to Devices

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This research examines anthropomorphism by testing the values that people attribute to electronic devices. We ask four main questions: Do people attribute human values to devices; Do devices differ in their value profiles; What underlies the attribution of values to devices; and Do individual and social differences affect these attributions. In Study 1, participants (N = 265) attributed Schwartz’s 10 basic human values to devices, reported their personal value priorities, as well as the frequency and difficulty in using each device. In Study 2, participants (N = 231) attributed values to devices, and responses were analyzed by age. Results show that people attribute human values to electronic devices, and that each device has a unique value profile. Anthropomorphizing devices reflects social consensus as to the symbolic meaning of each device, rather than projection of personal values or frequency of device use. Members of social groups share device values and differ from members of other groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2161-2187
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • aging
  • anthropomorphism
  • attribution
  • electronic devices
  • values


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