College students choose smartphones over food

Updated December 6, 2018 This content is archived.

Research by Sara O’Donnell, a clinical psychology doctoral student in pediatrics, found that college students would rather go without food than without their phones. “When deprived of both food and smartphones, students were much more motivated to work for time to use their smartphone, and were willing to part with more hypothetical money to gain access to their phone,” she said. “We knew that students would be motivated to gain access to their phones, but we were surprised that despite modest food deprivation, smartphone reinforcement far exceeded food reinforcement.”