How often do you visit social media sites, FNites? In a new study to be published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers uncovered a surprising finding. Their results showed people are more likely to give in to using Twitter than to vices like cigarettes and alcohol.

Using BlackBerrys as a monitoring device, a team headed by Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University's Booth Business School began the experiment involving 205 people between ages 18 and 85. The participants were regularly buzzed seven times a day over 14 hours for seven consecutive days to check whether they were experiencing temptation at that moment or had felt an urge to do something half an hour ago. They were also asked about what kind of desires they felt and whether they gave in to them or not.

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At the end of the experiment, there were 7,827 "desire episodes" in all. The temptation to give in to sleep and leisure was said to be more problematic. The participants were, however, "relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges, and spending impulses." According to the researchers, such results were surprising "given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money."

What might have been the most unexpected result, though, was that going online for Twitter or even checking e-mail ranked high on the list. Hoffman offers this explanation: "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."

For more on social media, check these out on FN:


(Photo by touring_fishman via Flickr Creative Commons)

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