(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

A study soon to be released in the journal Psychological Science contends that checking one’s Twitter feed or emails is more difficult to resist than either cigarettes or alcohol. The researchers from Chicago University’s Booth Business school say their findings also revealed that people are more likely to give in to their cravings to use social media than to longings for sex or sleep.

As The Guardian reports, participants in the study were signaled seven times a day for a week so they could report whether they were experiencing a desire of any kind at that moment or had experienced one within the last half hour, what particular type of desire it was, how intense it was (with levels reaching up to “irresistible), whether it “conflicted with other desires” and whether they acted on that desire or held off.

The results revealed that the highest “self-control failure rates” were reported in regard to media. Lead researcher Wilhelm Hofmann told The Guardian, “Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist. With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs – long-term as well as monetary – and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still ‘steal’ a lot of people’s time.”

Source: The Guardian

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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