Study Finds Texting Could Cause Shallowness And Prejudice

The University of Winnipeg has completed a three-year study which has found that students who text often are more likely to focus on material gain and be prejudiced.

According to the study, people who send more than a hundred texts a day are less likely to prioritise ethics in their lives, compared to people who send fifty texts or less.

Startling figures also showed that 30% of the 2300 participants text at least two hundred times a day.

This research supports a hypothesis put forward by social neuroscientists like Nicholas Carr, who wrote a book theorising that "as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain."

This is called the "shallowing hypothesis", which states that social media (e.g. Twitter, as well as texting on a mobile phone) that requires thoughts to be expressed very briefly can affect the way those thoughts are formed in the first place. Essentially, we begin thinking in 140 characters as we adapt to our new ways of communicating.

The same scientists, Dr Lisa Sinclair and Dr Paul Trapnell, also found a correlation between texting and intolerance.

In a separate experiment, students who had been texting for a period of time reported more negative feelings towards minority groups than students who had not been texting.

Trapell and Sinclair don't find this particularly alarming, and note that overall attitudes of the younger generation are still more tolerant than ever before.

Still, perhaps we are not tolerant enough, if the simple act of texting can change the way we think about others.