Facebook profiles may raise users’ self-esteem: Study

Posted: June 3, 2013 by Areeb Fazli in Technology
Tags: , , , , ,

Facebook profiles may raise users' self-esteem: Study A Facebook profile can provide beneficial psychological effects and influence behaviour, a new study has claimed.

Catalina Toma, a UW-Madison assistant professor of communication arts, used the Implicit Association Test to measure Facebook users’ self-esteem after they spent time looking at their profiles.

The test showed that after participants spent just five minutes examining their own Facebook profiles, they experienced a significant boost in self-esteem.

The test measures how quickly participants associate positive or negative adjectives with words like me, my, I and myself.

“If you have high self-esteem, then you can very quickly associate words related to yourself with positive evaluations but have a difficult time associating words related to yourself with negative evaluations,” Toma said.

“But if you have low self-esteem, the opposite is true,” she said.

Additionally, she also investigated whether exposure to one’s own Facebook profile affects behaviour.

“We wanted to know if there are any additional psychological effects that stem from viewing your own self-enhancing profile,” Toma said.

The behaviour examined in the study was performance in a serial subtraction task, assessing how quickly and accurately participants could count down from a large number by intervals of seven.

Toma found that self-esteem boost that came from looking at their profiles ultimately diminished participants’ performance in the follow-up task by decreasing their motivation to perform well.

After people spent time on their own profile they attempted fewer answers during the allotted time than people in a control group, but their error rate was not any worse.

She said that the results are consistent with self-affirmation theory, which claims that people constantly try to manage their feelings of self-worth.

“Performing well in a task can boost feelings of self-worth,” Toma says. “However, if you already feel good about yourself because you looked at your Facebook profile, there is no psychological need to increase your self-worth by doing well in a laboratory task.”

The study is set to be published in Media Psychology.

Source: Times of India

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