This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s tried to hold a conversation with a 21-year-old who can’t be bothered to put down their smartphone: a new study showed that young adults who text more than 100 times a day tend to be more interested in wealth, vanity and less so in leading a virtuous life.
Led by psychology professors Paul Trapnell and Lisa Sinclair, the University of Winnipeg study suggested that students who text that much are 30 percent less likely to value living an “ethical, principled life,” compared to those who texted 50 times or less a day. The study also showed that heavy texters exhibited higher levels of ethnic prejudice.
Researcher gleaned their findings from 2,300 freshman psychology students who took online surveys about their goals in life, personality traits and how much they texted. Around 30 percent reported texting 200 or more times a day, while 12 percent indicated they texted more than 300 times a day.
The study aimed to test the “shallowing hypothesis” that Nicholas Carr discusses in his book “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.” The hypothesis suggests that relentless texters and heavy users of Twitter are more superficial because the platforms encourage rapid and brief interactions that promote shallow thought.
“The values and traits most closely associated with texting frequency are surprisingly consistent with Carr’s conjecture that new information and social media technologies may be displacing and discouraging reflective thought,” Trapnell explained in a university news release.
However, researchers did note that daily immersion in texting, Twitter, and Facebook has not prevented the younger generation of so-called “digital natives” from becoming more tolerant and accepting of human diversity. Trapnell and Sinclair see no reason to start freaking out over the “moral shallowing” of tech-savvy young adults, but say the matter could warrant more research.
What say you? Is this research right on par with your own experience or is it just a bunch of hot wind from older academics? Sound off in the comments below.
Credit: Kevin Dodge/Corbis