Researchers have found, in a study, that tweeting or checking e-mails may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol.
The study, headed by Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University’s Booth Bussiness School, tried to mesure how well people could resist their desires. The experiment consist in gauge the willpower of 205 people, in ages between 18 and 85, using BlackBerrys.
The participants were signalled 7 times a day during 14 hours, for a week, so they could message back if they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one in last 30 minutes. They mesure the strenght, the type and if it conflicted with other desires. There were 10559 responses and 7827 “desire episodes” reported.
Hofmann explains that modern life is a welter of different desires. He says that sleep and leisure were the most problematic desires but they create a pervasive tension between natural inclinations to rest and the multitude of work and obligations. He explains that when it conflicts with socialising or leisure activities, working is difficult to resist because work can define the people’s identities, dictate many aspects of daily life and invoke penalties if important duties are shirked.
Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail; but a interesting fact is that people were succesful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges and spending impulses, what seems surprising in modern culture.
Another desires, like adictions to tobacco, alcohol or coffee were relative low, apparently changing “the stereotype of addiction as driven by irresistibly strong desires”.
Hoffmann told The Guardian that desires for media are more difficult to resist because of their high availability and because it seems that it doesn’t cost much to participate in these activities. But, in fact, they steal a lot of people’s time.
The researcher told The Guardian that with cigarettes and alcohol is different, because there are more cost long-term and monetary.
Before the experiment, Hofmann explains people that using BlackBerrys did not count. Even people that really didn’t feel a desire to use them, beeped once in a while.
I taked this article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/03/twitter-resist-cigarettes-alcohol-study .
The original source is http://pss.sagepub.com/ . We can see here the results of the experiment.
In my opinion, the modern society lives in a constant adiction to media. I agree with the arguments that Hofmann give us to explain it. But for me was surprising too that media was harder to resist than other cravings.