Does High Volume Texting Make You Racist?
By D.A. Barber.
After NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated, he became the target of online Twitter attacks – including death threats. The episode illustrates that the findings of a new study shows that people obsessed with social media and texting tend to be far more shallow and much more racist.
Researchers at the University of Winnipeg found that young people – where text messaging is the chosen vehicle for all manner of interpersonal relationships – are specifically susceptible to the trend, especially those who are less technologically savvy.
The researchers spent three years surveying more than 2,300 first-year psychology students to test what is known as the “shallowing hypothesis,” described in Nicholas Carr’s best-selling book, “The Shallows.” According to the theory, “ultra-brief social media like texting and Twitter encourages rapid, relatively shallow thought and consequently, very frequent daily use of such media should be associated with cognitive and moral shallowness.” Such people tend to place less value on moral, esthetic, and spiritual ends, but a higher value on wealth and image.
What the University of Winnipeg researchers found was that students who sent 100 or more texts per day were 30 percent less likely to believe in the importance of leading an “ethical, principled, and life,” compared to those who sent 50 or less text messages per day. Researchers further found that higher levels of ethnic prejudice were consistently associated with higher numbers of texts.
“Ultra-brief social media like texting and Twitter encourages rapid, relatively shallow thought and consequently very frequent daily use of such media should be associated with cognitive and moral shallowness,” researchers noted.
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