It's time for Fitbit and its fitness tracker friends to be held accountable for everyone's mood swings. Sure, people who live #ThatStepLife get more exercise than most, but a new study from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business shows that step-counters make people unhappier. Ummm, what now?
Turns out tracking devices make users enjoy the activities they're tracking less, which anyone who's walked to work in sub-zero temperatures just to beat their coworker's step count surely understands. In one test, two groups of students recorded their thoughts for a day while walking—one with trackers, one without. Surprise, surprise—the step-obsessed group walked farther and totally hated it.
"We're curious creatures and tracking information is very seductive, even for enjoyable activities," Professor Jordan Etkin said. "Simply making it available made them want to look at it, but the very people who self-select into measurement are the ones who are hurt by it."
This doesn't mean you should cast your trusty Fitbit aside like an old slice of pizza (kidding, you should never throw out pizza), but as Etkin points out, "for activities people do for fun, it may be better not to know."
Ugh, Fitbit, quit playing games with our heart.
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