- (Photo: Reuters / Thierry Roge)
A new study has revealed social networking sites Facebook and Twitter are even more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.
The new research by the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business into people's everyday desires, found that the urge to check Facebook is harder to resist than cigarettes.
The study conducted in Wurzburg, Germany, involved 205 volunteers between the ages of 18-85, who logged almost 8,000 reports about their everyday desires. While sleep and sex, were the two most desired things for participants, social networking sites proved to be the most difficult to resist.
"Modern life is a welter of assorted desires marked by frequent conflict and resistance, the latter with uneven success," said Dr. Wilhelm Hofmann, head of the study, which was published in the Psychological Science Journal.
The team sent tweets to participants seven times over 14 hours a day for seven days, and observed whether the participants checked them and if they texted back, after struggling with a conflict of desires for 30 minutes.
The team verified that the participants were overcome with strong urges to check the tweets, and that most of them were unable to resist the urge and did respond.
"It is relatively difficult to resist urges to check social media because they are useful and cost nearly nothing," Hofmann said. He argued the study proves how the consistent urge to surrender to the temptation to check Facebook, meant the participants willpower was chipped away by the end of the day.
"As a day wears on, willpower becomes lower and self-control efforts are more likely to fail," Dr. Hofmann said. Inspite of the well documented addictive qualities of cigarettes and alcohol neither held as much power over the volunteers as Facebook the study found.