Is Facebook The New Philip Morris?

As if you didn’t know it already, there’s now yet another psych study detailing the addictive qualities of Facebook. Researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business recently enlisted 205 Germans and monitored them for an entire week to try and get a handle on the scale of desire that goes along with everyday activities like, say, checking Facebook or smoking a cigarette or having sex. Each participant was given a BlackBerry, where they were supposed to log their desires every 30 minutes and rank each of them from “strong” to “irresistible.” As their preliminary results showed, checking social networks came out on top — above cigarettes, above sex, even above sleeping. Turns out this Facebook thing is very popular.

This is hardly the first time that psychologists have studied the Facebook urge. Earlier this year, there were a flurry of studies compiled by researchers all around the world, from MIT to Milan. Some of them were more technical than others. “Moreover, the biological signals revealed that Facebook use can evoke a psychophysiological state characterised by high positive valence and high arousal (Core Flow State),” reads one of the reports. “It occurs more regularly among younger than older users,” reads another. The site AddictionInfo has a section on “Facebook envy,” and there’s even a new tool for measuring just how addicted people get to Facebook, aptly named the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.

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