Can programming frameworks bring smartphones into the mainstream of psychological science?

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Smartphones continue to provide huge potential for psychological science and the advent of novel research frameworks brings new opportunities for researchers who have previously struggled to develop smartphone applications. However, despite this renewed promise, smartphones have failed to become a standard item within psychological research. Here we consider the key barriers that continue to limit smartphone adoption within psychological science and how these barriers might be diminishing in light of ResearchKit and other recent methodological developments. We conclude that while these programming frameworks are certainly a step in the right direction it remains challenging to create usable research-orientated applications with current frameworks. Smartphones may only become an asset for psychology and social science as a whole when development software that is both easy to use, secure, and becomes freely available.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1252
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2016


  • Behavioral informatics
  • Digital sensors
  • Mobile apps
  • Mobile computing
  • Smartphones


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