Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Facebook and smartphones: New tools for psychological science research

Date:
May 18, 2012
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Whether you're an iPerson who can't live without a Mac, a Facebook addict, or a gamer, you know that social media and technology say things about your personality and thought processes. And psychological scientists know it too -- they've started researching how new media and devices both reveal and change our mental states.

Whether you're an iPerson who can't live without a Mac, a Facebook addict, or a gamer, you know that social media and technology say things about your personality and thought processes. And psychological scientists know it too -- they've started researching how new media and devices both reveal and change our mental states.

Two recent articles in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, explored how trends in technology are changing the questions psychological scientists are asking and the ways they ask them.

A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences

With Facebook preparing to sell shares on Wall Street for the first time next week, investors aren't the only ones who want a piece of this social media giant. Social scientists have recognized Facebook and its 800-million-plus users as a gold mine for data about people's social relationships, and many researchers have incorporated it into their research programs. Psychological scientists Robert E. Wilson, Samuel T. Gosling and Lindsay T. Graham compiled all social-science studies involving Facebook and took a look at the types of questions researchers are asking.

Overall trends in the research indicate that people are drawn to Facebook because they can maintain connections both with close friends and distant friends in an informal manner. Researchers have also shown that Facebook users tend to portray themselves accurately in their profiles, making Facebook profiles an excellent source for employers to evaluate job candidates and for businesses to find new consumers for their products. Companies who decide to use Facebook to collect information should be wary, though, because studies have demonstrated that Facebook users are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy over time. Scientists also have to assess privacy issues when they design their Facebook studies, but Wilson and his colleagues believe that the value of the data collected from Facebook outweighs the challenges scientists have to overcome to obtain it.

The Smartphone Psychology Manifesto

Smartphones may be getting cheaper, but their value to psychological scientists is priceless. Because people are constantly on the go, one of the biggest challenges researchers face is collecting data in real time in people's everyday environments. Sure, scenarios can be recreated in the laboratory, but psychological scientist Geoffrey Miller asks why should scientists rely on simulations when they could tap the power of smartphones instead?

One advantage of smartphones is that people tend to carry them almost everywhere they go. The sensors on smartphones can also provide a wealth of information beyond a user's location, including whether a person is moving, how they are moving, and whether an individual is in close proximity to other smartphone users. By using "psych apps" that users download to their phones, Miller suggests that scientists would be able to obtain a more accurate representation of how environments influence behavior. One app already in use is "Mappiness," which combines your location, ambient noise level, and your mood to find out how your environment influences your mood. Miller also predicts that smartphones could eventually be equipped to detect other things, such as temperature, radiation levels, and pollution.

There are downsides to smartphone research, including the limited battery life of smartphones, having to account for different phone models, and the fact that focusing on smartphones would only allow researchers to study individuals who could afford them (i.e., young, well-to-do people). Yet Miller believes that it is not a question of whether there will be a smartphone revolution in psychological science research, it is a question of when the revolution will happen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. G. Miller. The Smartphone Psychology Manifesto. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2012; 7 (3): 221 DOI: 10.1177/1745691612441215
  2. R. E. Wilson, S. D. Gosling, L. T. Graham. A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2012; 7 (3): 203 DOI: 10.1177/1745691612442904

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Facebook and smartphones: New tools for psychological science research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518132551.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2012, May 18). Facebook and smartphones: New tools for psychological science research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518132551.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Facebook and smartphones: New tools for psychological science research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120518132551.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Facebook Earnings Put Smile on Investors Faces

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Facebook earnings beat forecasts- with revenue climbing 61 percent. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins