A new study has revealed that students chose their smartphones over food after having been deprived of both for a few hours.
The study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Buffalo. As per the details, the researchers took into account 76 students aged between 18 and 22 for the said study.
The students were deprived of food for three hours and phones for two hours. After that, the students were supposed to do a computer-based set of tasks to earn either their phone or their favorite food.
The findings surprised the researchers, as the motivation to earn phones was much higher than the motivation to win 100 calories of their favorite food.
The lead author of the study, Sara O’Donnell says,
We were very surprised by the results. 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.
Although the study paints a depressing picture for youngsters and their urge for smartphones, the size of the study is quite small. Therefore, it does not hold much weight and should not be taken at face value.
The paper uses these results to conclude that phones are “more reinforcing than food given modest food deprivation” but that conclusion cannot be applied in generic terms. It is not definitive because of its sample size and distribution.
You can read the full study here.