Cosmetic Customization of Mobile Phones: Cultural Antecedents, Psychological Correlates

Seoyeon Lee, S. Shyam Sundar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Mobile phones are seen as extensions of the self, with users individualizing their phones via customized accessories and features. A Korea–U.S. comparison survey (N = 551) examines the degree to which aspects of cultural psychology predict aesthetic motivations for mobile-phone customization, including the possibility that repression of self-expression in predominantly collectivistic Eastern cultures may be fueling the need to publicly express oneself through visible accessories. Furthermore, it explores psychological correlates of the tendency for cosmetic customization. Analyses using structural equation modeling show that culture predicts other-directedness, which is associated with aesthetic motivations for cosmetic customization of mobile phones, which in turn is related to product attachment—a relationship that is mediated by the degree to which users perceive their phones as reflecting their self. Theoretical contributions include an empirically based explication of the social psychology underlying the phenomenon of personal-media accessorizing, with practical implications for the design of customization options and cross-cultural marketing of mobile phones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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