As anyone who finds themselves reaching for their smartphone during any lull in daily activities will attest Twitter can be highly addictive, but precisely how addictive has never been quantified – until now.
A team from Chicago University’s Booth Business School have published new research into the habits of 205 BlackBerry smartphone users, quizzing them on their desires and experiences whilst handling the device.
The surprising results, to be published in psychological Science, suggest that the temptation to dip into a quick email, or fire off a surreptitious tweet are more likely to be gratified than a slug of alcohol or puff of a cigarette.
Overalll the highest so called “self-control failure rates” were in regard to social media, relegating even such perennial favourites as sleep and sex down a notch.
Speaking to the guardian lead researcher Wilhelm Hofmann said: “"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," he added.
"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs - long-term as well as monetary - and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time.”