Winnipeg University Study Says Frequent Texters More Shallow

Just thought I’d share this article I came across. I think it falls in the “duh” category but it’s still interesting.  It appeared in The Canadian Press on April 12, 2013.

WINNIPEG — A study at the University of Winnipeg says young people who do a lot of texting tend to be more shallow.

The university says more than 2,300 first-year psychology students were surveyed online for three consecutive years.

The results indicate that students who text frequently place less importance on moral, esthetic and spiritual goals and greater importance on wealth and image.

The study says those who texted more than 100 times a day were 30 per cent less likely to feel strongly that leading an ethical, principled life was important, in comparison to those who texted 50 times or less a day.

The study says higher texting frequency was also consistently associated with higher levels of ethnic prejudice.

The university says researchers Dr. Paul Trapnell and Dr. Lisa Sinclair also took texting into the lab.

In the study, some students texted, some spoke on cell phones, and some did neither. Then, all students rated how they felt about different social groups.

Those who had been texting rated minority groups more negatively than the others did.

The university says the experiment was meant to test the so-called “shallowing hypothesis” described in “The Shallows,” a best-selling book by Nicholas Carr.

The theory suggests “ultra-brief social media like texting and Twitter encourages rapid, relatively shallow thought and consequently very frequent daily use of such media should be associated with cognitive and moral shallowness.”

Kathy

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4 thoughts on “Winnipeg University Study Says Frequent Texters More Shallow

  1. Nomi

    Why do you think that this falls in the “duh” category? I haven’t done nearly enough research on this to be able to make any concrete statements about it, but the last paragraph,
    “The theory suggests “ultra-brief social media like texting and Twitter encourages rapid, relatively shallow thought and consequently very frequent daily use of such media should be associated with cognitive and moral shallowness.”
    is one that I find somewhat challenging. There are, for example, people who use Twitter to reach a large following of people, encouraging deeper thinking, community involvement, and spiritual awakening and involvement. I have a friend who has won awards for her use of social media, Twitter in particular, and most of what she does is to reach out to unaffiliated, and often highly disillusioned members of the community, to help them find meaning and connection. I wouldn’t call that shallow. That being said, one of the reasons that I don’t personally love things like Twitter is that I find that while brevity is very valuable, you also potentially lose a lot when your primary concern is cutting the length to fit into the allowed space.

    Reply
  2. kathysbookmark Post author

    Nomi,
    Thanks for commenting. My “duh” comment refers to what is generally thought about Twitter not necessarily my view of Twitter. I actually found a comment in an article that I found while doing research for my Social Media Plan that you might appreciate, “Twitter can act as a starting point for greater conversation. . . . Twitter is invaluable for creating a network of [library] colleagues who connect me not only to other people of relevance to me, but also to relevant information, events, breaking news, and professional development resources. This network is almost always responsive and available to bounce ideas off of, get the word out, and even answer reference questions. They allow me vicariously to attend conferences and workshops that I cannot attend in person and expose me to sources and viewpoints that I would not have encountered on my own. This community of active professionals, and the ongoing conversations that surround them, brings vitality to the profession that can only serve to keep the field relevant and vibrant, acting as a catalyst to advance libraries into the future.”
    Forrestal, Valerie, “Making Twitter Work: A Guide for the Uninitiated, the Skeptical, and the Pragmatic” Reference Librarian, January 2011, Vol. 52, (1/2) pp. 145-151.

    Reply
  3. lauren peters

    Kathy, do you think multi-tweeters are shallow because they tweet so much, or do you think that they are shallow and narcissistic to begin with and now have a platform on which to display themselves?

    Reply
    1. kathysbookmark Post author

      Hi Lauren. My “duh” comment refers to what is generally thought about Twitter not necessarily my view of Twitter. I actually responded to a question similar to yours (see my response to Nomi’s comment above) and I included information I agree with about the benefits of Twitter/texting that I found while doing research for my social media plan. Hope you read my reply above. I personally don’t generalize about people so I don’t think all multi-tweeters are shallow. Hope that answers your question.

      Reply

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