Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Modern Desires Hardest To Resist

Modern desires are hardest to resist, but new research offers secrets to conquering temptation.

— Sex, money, or perhaps chocolate, no—those are not the toughest temptations to resist.

Willhelm Hofmann, Ph.D., professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago and his research team discovered two modern desires most of us can’t seem to walk away from.

“Desires for media like watching television, surfing the Internet, using your iPhone, and our desire to work. That is, the intrinsic desire to get your work done—these are the hardest to resist,” said Hofmann.

Using a specially designed smartphone application, researchers recorded the desires and reactions of more than 200 adults ages 18 to 55.

The results were surprising. The toughest urges to resist, intrinsic desire to be productive and media interaction. While basic needs were the easiest to avoid said Hofmann.

“Comparatively, sexual desire was relatively easy to resist also spending desires were easy to resist.”

The best ways to resist undesirable urges said Hofmann is to not get drunk and avoid being with or watching others participate in tempting activities.

Study results will be presented Friday at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference in San Diego.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.