Addicts of today aren’t turning to cigarettes or alcohol — instead, they turn to Twitter. A new study by Wilhelm Hoffman of Chicago University’s Booth Business School has found that checking email or tweeting is even harder to resist than smoking or drinking. The study showed that the willpower to resist tuning into online news and connectivity proved to be much more difficult than resisting urges like tobacco, coffee, or other activities.

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The study, performed in Wurtzburg, Germany, followed 205 participants between the ages of 18 and 85. Each was given a BlackBerry and monitored over the course of seven days. The participants were contacted seven times a day and asked how strong their desire to check email or log into social media was; most generally replied they had strong desires to do so. Meanwhile, they reported successful resistance to other desires like sexual urges, spending impulses, or smoking.

The study, which will have its results published in the Psychological Science journal, is a true testament to the modern desire to feel plugged-in and connected. Many of the participants, like most people, felt the desire to tweet or log on to social media sites like Facebook when in actual real life social situations.

The social media phenomenon is still relatively new, and its psychological effects are still being studied. We look forward to the full report once the data is analyzed.

Via The Guardian

Lead photo © Steve Garfield