People can resist the desire to have sex, but not to tweet [Study]

We can’t do without sleep, and sex is imperative for the survival of the human race, however, a soon-to-be published psychological study has found that despite these desires being built in to our DNA, we’re more likely to resist them, than the desire to shoot off a tweet.

Reported by the Guardian, the study looked into just how much willpower 205 people aged between 18 and 85 had when it came to resisting their desires.

Not only were people less likely to resist the desire to tweet or use any other form social and general media, compared to resisting the desire for sex, they also displayed less willpower in resisting the urge to have an alcoholic beverage or have a cigarette.

The human guinea pigs in this study, the first of its kind conducted outside of a laboratory setting, “were signalled seven times a day over 14 hours for a week seven consecutive days so they could message back whether they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one within the last 30 minutes,” the Guardian reported.

In that message on the preceding 30 minutes, the participants also indicated; if they resisted gave in to the desire, what type of desire it was, and the strength of the desire. The strongest grade of desire was, of course, “irresistible”.

The research team, headed by Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Dr Wilhelm Hofmann, also noted that as the day wore on, people’s willpower lessened and thus were less likely to resist desires.

Other findings by the study are that resisting a desire to work was likely to fail. On the other hand participants were able to resist the urge to partake in sports or the impulse to spend money, “which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money,” the researchers noted.

Speaking with the Guardian, Hoffman noted that “desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist.”

There’s no mention of whether participants who found the urge to tweet or consume other media stronger than the urge to have sex might have partners whose skills in the bedroom are less than satisfactory.



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.