A just published research paper, Object personification in autism: This paper will be very sad if you don’t read it (only the abstract is freely available), made me wonder if there’s existing research about whether people personifying their electronic devices keep them for longer than those who don’t. The mentioned paper is in the context of autism, but also surveys neurotypicals, and some neurotypicals also personify objects and devices (and I remember a survey conducted some thirty years ago in France about the gender of the names people were giving to their computers).
Maybe this research topic could be suggested to researchers approaching the Restart Project.
Here are a few relevant quotes from the paper:
Object personification is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human agents. […]
[…] In our review of online forums, we were struck by the distressing tone of many posts (WrongPlanet.net, 2017). Autistic individuals reported sadness and despair when faced with an object that might be hurt or lonely, and several asked whether they might receive ‘help for their problem’.