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Frequent Texters Are More Likely to Be Shallow, Racist and Less Ethical

Update Date: Apr 18, 2013 02:15 PM EDT
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Texting and Twitter may seem like they are simply quick ways to receive information. However, recent studies have indicated that new methods of communication are changing the ways that people behave. According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Winnipeg, people who text frequently are more likely to be shallow, prejudiced and unethical.

According to the CBC, the study was conducted to test the hypothesis put forward in Nicholas Carr's 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. In the book, Carr theorizes that texting and Twitter encourage increased amounts of superficiality, because their nature encourages rapid and superficial thinking.

"The values and traits most closely associated with texting frequency are surprisingly consistent with Carr's conjecture that new information and social media technologies may be displacing and discouraging reflective thought," psychology professor and study co-author Paul Trapnell said in a statement. "We still don't know the exact cause of these modest but consistent associations, but we think they warrant further study. We were surprised, however, that so little research has been done to directly test this important claim."

The researchers performed two experiments. In the first, over the course of three semesters, they administered a survey to 2,300 undergraduate psychology students. The students were asked how often they texted, what their life goals were and how to describe their personality.

The surveys revealed that 30 percent of students admitted to texting 200 or more times a day. In addition, 12 percent of students said that they texted 300 or more times a day. The study found that heavy texters, defined as texting more than 100 times a day, are 30 percent less likely to describe living a "principled, ethical life" as important to them than people who texted 50 times a day or less.

In the second experiment, Trapnell and study co-author Lisa Sinclair asked students to text, talk on the phone or do neither. Then the students were asked to reveal their feelings about various social groups. The group that had been texting rated minority groups more negatively than the other students.

While these findings may seem concerning, researchers suggest that there is no need to worry, and that it may even be a good thing. They noted that younger people, who tend to text more often than their older peers, have demonstrated tolerance and acceptance of diversity in line with older people.

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