Citizen behavioral science for a
  safer, fairer, more understanding internet
Take the Gray Phone Challenge
Take the Gray Phone Challenge

Are Bright Colors On Your Phone Hijacking Your Attention? Take the Gray Phone Challenge To Find Out

Technology critics worry that smartphones are compelling more and more of our attention with flashy, colorful designs. With the Gray Phone Challenge, you can discover how colorful notifications shape your own phone usage and contribute to wider knowledge about these effects.

We're inviting you to take part in a research study. Before you decide to participate, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please read this information carefully. Ask us if anything is not clear or you need more information.

Grayscale phone against a colorful backdrop

Purpose of the research: We are asking you to participate in research to discover if turning a phone screen gray affects the time that you use your phone. Participation in this research is voluntary and only available to people with iPhones and iPads.

If you participate, what to expect: In this study, you will conduct a personal experiment on your own behavior and share the results with us to analyze. The study involves:

  • Installing the Moment iOS app to track how long you use your phone every day
  • Answering a 10 minute survey
  • Over the next 5 weeks, turning your phone screen gray or colored, based on a daily email or text from us
  • Weekly emailing us the data that your phone collects about your daily phone usage
  • Receiving an email from us with your results, alongside the average across everyone

You may end your participation at any time. If you prefer to stop receiving messages, email us and we will remove you from the research.

Benefits and risks: Your participation will help you learn if turning a phone's screen gray can influence how much you use your phone. This study will also help us discover how phone and app design influence people's behavior.

Confidentiality: All records from this study will be kept confidential. Only the research team will have access to your responses. Your responses will be kept private for long-term storage, and we will not include any personally-identifiable information in any publications.

Do you have further questions? Contact us:

J. Nathan Matias
@natematias on Twitter

If you have questions about your rights as a research participant, or if problems arise which you do not feel you can discuss with the Investigator, please contact:

Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Phone: (609) 258-8543

This research is only open to people who are 18 years or older. If you are eligible and you consent to participate, here are your next steps:

  • Complete the opening survey. By completing this survey, you indicate consent to participate in the study
  • Read the instructions
  • Take the Gray Phone Challenge over the next 5 weeks