Windsor

Study suggests frequent texters 'image-conscious pleasure seekers'

New research from the University of Windsor suggests people who text frequently are often more shallow and tend to be “image-conscious pleasure seekers,” compared to people who are less connected with their mobile device.

'People have to break that cycle of over-engagement with social media or texting'

Research from the University of Windsor suggests frequent texters are more shallow compared to their less-connected peers. (Shutterstock)

How often do you text, check your Twitter feed or post to Facebook?

Your answer might have something to do with what type of a person you are.

New research from the University of Windsor suggests people who text frequently are often more shallow and tend to be "image-conscious pleasure seekers" compared to people who are less connected with their mobile device.

"If [social media] is the way people are getting all their information about current events, that's kind of a recipe for shallow thinking about that event," said Kathryn Lafreniere, a psychology professor at the university who supervised the research carried out by Logan Annisette.

Annisette completed the study as part of his undergraduate thesis and had it published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences 

"One wonders if people are looking at headlines without clicking on the article and looking at anything more nuanced. It could be setting up a cycle where people are taking shortcuts to deep thinking about important topics in the world," Lafreniere said. 

As part of the study, 149 psychology students at the University of Windsor were asked about their texting habits and how they viewed things like morality, integrity and ethics.

Reflection and social media

Lafreniere said the people who felt most strongly about those issues texted less often. The people who used social media more often tended to have shallower goals and took less time for reflection.

Katheryn Lafreniere, a psychology professor at the University of Windsor says people who digest more information in short bites might be missing time for reflection on big ideas. (CBC)

"They were associated with less reflective thoughts, more shallowness in terms of thinking but also with moral goals," Lafreniere said. "Their goals were more to do with pleasure-seeking and appearance rather than deeply ethical and moral goals."

If you think you could be one of these texters she's talking about, Lafreniere says you shouldn't be too upset. There didn't seem to be any correlation between texting and any other feelings.  

But Lafreniere thinks people using social media can probably afford to take a break.

"We want people to be more deeply reflective and take the time necessary to do that," she said.

"People have to break that cycle of over-engagement with social media or texting," she said. "If they're always kind of looking at their phone they may be missing something, some deeper experiences that aren't as shallow."  

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