Why is it so difficult to resist the desire to use social media? One possibility is that frequent social media users possess strong and spontaneous hedonic reactions to social media cues, which, in turn, makes it difficult to resist social media temptations. In two studies (total N = 200), we investigated less-frequent and frequent social media users' spontaneous hedonic reactions to social media cues using the Affect Misattribution Procedure-an implicit measure of affective reactions. Results demonstrated that frequent social media users showed more favorable affective reactions in response to social media (vs. control) cues, whereas less-frequent social media users' affective reactions did not differ between social media and control cues (Studies 1 and 2). Moreover, the spontaneous hedonic reactions to social media (vs. control) cues were related to self-reported cravings to use social media and partially accounted for the link between social media use and social media cravings (Study 2). These findings suggest that frequent social media users' spontaneous hedonic reactions in response to social media cues might contribute to their difficulties in resisting desires to use social media.
Keywords: Facebook; craving; self-control; social media; temptation.