Heavy texting linked to lesser ethics, greater prejudice, study finds

Young people who send more than 100 texts a day are more likely than others to be shallow and uninterested in living an ethical life, Canadian researchers said.

Psychologists in Winnipeg, Manitoba, conducted surveys for three consecutive years with freshmen psychology students at the University of Winnipeg. They found people who said they text more than 100 times per day are 30 percent less likely to feel strongly about leading an “ethical, principled life” than those who send 50 or fewer text messages per day, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said Thursday.

Heavy texters — 30 percent of respondents reported sending at least 200 texts per day; 12 percent said it was 300 or more — are also statistically more likely to hold ethnic prejudices, the study found.

“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,” said psychologist Paul Trapnell, one of the study's authors. “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.”

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