Students prefer self-esteem boosting activities, like being complimented, or getting good grades, to pleasurable activities like sex or being paid, according to Ohio State University researchers.
Researchers surveyed 282 students asking them to rate both how much they liked and how much they wanted various activities. While activities like sex or seeing friends were ranked highly on the like scale, their was a large gap between like and want. Conversely students reported that they actually wanted self-esteem boosts more than they liked them, which is suggestive of addictive behaviour the researchers note.
“We were really surprised college students would rather be praised,” study co-author, psychologist Brad Bushman said. “It’s a big problem and I think that [a] sense of entitlement is damaging to society.”
Other psychologist concurred. “It’s pretty scary that it’s now to the point where these American students feel their self-esteem is more important than those other rewards,” a San Diego State University psychologist said.