Page 1



Tamika McLean CEP 917 – Mishra & Henrikson Michigan State University October 2, 2012


Relationship Aesthetic Quality


In today’s technological society, it is taken as a given that everyone has a cellphone. On television we see commercials advertising one cell phone provider over another. There are big businesses that are focused on creating the newest and greatest of cellphone technology. It makes me wonder about the special type of relationship people have with their cellphones. Csikszentmihalyi and Rochbert-Halton (1981) state that man is more than just men they are creators and users of objects, and the reflection of self is based on the interactions between man and objects. So what are the interactions that people have with their cellphones, and what is the importance of a cellphone such that it is believed that anyone you come across has one? To answer these questions, I will be looking at the three modes of transaction (Aesthetic

Quality, Attention, and

Goals) between people and objects that is described by Csikszentmihalyi and Rochbert-Halton (1981).

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Rochbert-Halton, E. (1981). The meaning of things: Domestic symbols and the self. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Brand & Software Capabilities


Aesthetic Quality mode of transaction focuses on two types of

experiences with objects, the perceptive and recognition experiences. The perceptive experience is when interaction with objects changes existing habits or schemas, and the recognition experience is when interaction with objects is conformed to already existing habits or schemas. The aesthetic relationship that most people have with cellphones is that of a

recognition experience. In choosing cellphones the majority of people go with the one that gives them the functionalities that they need for their everyday lives. For example, if the cellphone is to be used as a tool for work, the person would look for a phone that had web browsing and syncing capabilities. By choice people chose to have an aesthetically relationship based on the recognizing how the cellphone can make their lives easier.


Suggestion from Family and Friends Good Deal

Smart Choice

Aesthetic Quality Recognition Experience

Ease of Use


Attention Degree of Importance

“I am not using it all

“Very important

the time”

unless I have my computer”

“I feel disconnected and lost without its

“I try not to be


dependent on my phone”

“I could live without it”


Attention mode of transaction focuses on the amount of energy (attention) placed into

the interaction with objects. For understanding the interaction between persons and cellphones, the attention a person places on their cellphone is akin to the importance of the cellphone in a person’s life. The degree

of importance varies between “I can’t live without it” to “Do not use it all the time”, and is dependent upon the distance between those the cellphone connects together. Therefore a lot of attention is placed on the cellphone when it is the main connection between those family members and friends who are far away, and less attention is placed on the cellphone when those whom we want to stay connected with a relatively close to us.

“I can’t live without it”

“I don’t really use it all the time in everyday life.”

View Documents Calendar Email Internet

Call Family



Goals mode of transaction focuses on the role of intention or purpose

of the interaction with objects. In the interaction between people and cellphones the role of intention or purpose is affiliated with the use of the cellphone. Generally people use the cellphone as a way to

stay connected or in communication with people who

are far away. These connections can be established through calling, texting, emailing, Facebook, Twitter, or any other form of social media.


GPS Navigation

Music Pictures

Facebook Alarm



Goal To stay connected

Attention Degree of Importance

Aesthetic Quality Recognition Experience

Relationship Survival

Goal To stay connected

Incorporating the aspects of each mode of transaction, the

relationship between individuals and cellphones is one of survival. Most individuals depend upon their cellphones to stay connected to the world around them. These connections are sustained by the many different functions of the cellphone. In the extreme cases the relationship a person has with their cellphone can be one in which they don’t go anywhere without their cellphones and feel like they are not whole without. On the other hand they are completely fine without having their cellphones. The cellphone is there just in case, and to be able to make the occasionally phone call or text. In general most people fall in the middle of those two extremes. They have a cellphone that is an integral part of their lives, but it does not control it. It is just another tool in which they use to survive in today’s technological society.

Photo Essay  

This is a photo essay about individuals realtionships with cellphones.

Photo Essay  

This is a photo essay about individuals realtionships with cellphones.