College students want smartphones over foods: Study

College students want smartphones over f...


A shocking research has surfaced stating that students can go to college without foods but not without smartphones. The study was conducted by researchers and published in the journal Addictive Behaviours suggesting that students are more dependent on smartphones rather than on foods.

As we know that food is a common reinforcer and used in several experiments, but this study found that for college students, smartphones can have a bigger reinforcing power than food. The study points out that a college student would be likely to spend more time, energy and even money to acquire phone usage than to get food.

“The frequency with which we use our cellphones every day is astounding, with estimates ranging from five to nine hours a day,” Sara O’Donnell, a scientist at University at Buffalo told PTI. Adding that she said, “In this study, we provide evidence for the first time that smartphones are reinforcing.”

The scientists were trying to explore whether smartphones could function as a reinforcing behaviour, the same way that alcohol, drugs and food are reinforcers.

During the study, researchers have found that when students were deprived of both food and smartphones, they were much more motivated to work for a time to use their smartphone, and were willing to part with more hypothetical money to gain access to their phone.

The study was conducted on students aged between 18 to 22, who had no access to food for three hours and smartphones for two hours. During that time, students either studied or read newspapers.

Following that, the students could use a computer task in order to earn either the use of their smartphones or 100-calorie servings of their favourite snack food.

As some smartphone time or food was earned, the amount of work needed to earn even more phone-use time or food increased.

The researchers measured smartphone reinforcement in two ways:
One was a hypothetical questionnaire asking, if the monetary price of using a smartphone kept steadily increasing, how much money would a college student spend to buy phone-use time.

The other was a behavioural index of reinforcement — this measured how many mouse button clicks a college student was willing to go through in order to use their phone for some time where the amount of clicks needed to use the phone increases over time

“The more hypothetical money and work the students were willing to spend to be able to use their smartphones, the higher reinforcing value it showed,” O’Donnell said.

The results showed that in both methodologies, college students were more willing to work or spend money on their smartphones rather than for food.

“We knew that students would be motivated to gain access to their phones, but we were surprised that despite modest food deprivation, smartphone reinforcement far exceeded food reinforcement across both methodologies,” she added.

PostedOn: 21 Nov 2018 Total Views: 277

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