Facebook and Twitter 'more addictive than tobacco and alcohol' – new research
Published 01/02/2012 | 16:14
TWITTER and Facebook are more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, researchers claim.
Resisting the urge to check social networking sites for updates is more difficult than turning down a drink, according to a study of people's everyday desires.
The survey of 250 people found that sleep and sex were the two things people most longed for during the day, but that the urges to keep on top of social networks and work were the hardest to resist.
In contrast alcohol and tobacco prompted much lower levels of desire despite their reputation for being addictive.
Researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in America fitted participants with devices which logged nearly 8,000 reports about people's everyday desires.
They found that having resisted a particular urge frequently or recently raises the chance of caving in the next time.
During the day our constant efforts to resist temptation sap our willpower which makes cravings even stronger, they explained.
Dr Wilhelm Hofmann, who led the research published in the Psychological Science journal, said: "As a day wears on, willpower becomes lower and self-control efforts are more likely to fail."
A similar study published in the same journal claimed that temporarily holding back when we crave food could help control the amount we need to eat to feel satisfied.
Researchers from the Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics found that people who initially delayed eating crisps they were given during a week-long trial went on to eat lower amounts than those who ate the snacks immediately.