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Twitter is an addiction

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The urge to tweet may be harder to resist than cigarettes or alcohol, according to new research from an American university.

The scientists at Chicago University's Booth Business School used BlackBerrys fitted with devices to log around 8,000 reports about participants' willpower and everyday desires.

The survey of 250 people found that while sleep and sex were the two things that were craved most, urges to tweet and keep track of social media were harder to resist - and people were more likely to cave into them.

The results, which will soon be published in the journal Psychological Science, suggest alcohol and cigarettes prompt much lower levels of desire, despite being highly addictive substances.

"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," Dr Wilhelm Hofmann, leading the study, told The Guardian.

"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs – long-term as well as monetary – and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time."

The study also showed that the more participants tried to resist doing something, the higher their craving to do so became - so they were more likely to cave in the next time around, with willpower becoming lower throughout the day.

What do you think? Is Twitter really that addictive? Or is the pull of alcohol and nicotine stronger in the long-run? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, or in the comments section below.

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