It’s hard to imagine anything young people might value more than food, getting an extra paycheck or even having sex, but according to the results of a recent study in the Journal of Personality there is one thing prized most among college students: a boost to their self-esteem.
In two consecutive studies of a total 282 students, researchers at Ohio State University showed that the majority of students chose kudos over more primal rewards like food, alcohol and sex as well as more sentimental rewards, like seeing a close friend. They even chose accolades over cold, hard cash. But why? (More on Time.com: Why That Rich Guy is Being So Nice to You)
Lead researcher Brad Bushman believes that young people may be “addicted” to self-esteem. “It is somewhat surprising how this desire to feel worthy and valuable trumps almost any other pleasant activity you can imagine,” he said in a statement.