Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves, research finds

Date:
June 26, 2012
Source:
University of Georgia
Summary:
People love social networks. That's the obvious conclusion from Facebook's 900 million active users and its current standing as one of the most visited sites on the web, second only to Google. New research inds what people may really "like" about social networking are themselves.

Keith Campbell, an associate professor in the department of psychology, studied signs of narcissism on Facebook.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Georgia

People love social networks. That's the obvious conclusion from Facebook's 900 million active users and its current standing as one of the most visited sites on the web, second only to Google. New research from the University of Georgia finds what people may really "like" about social networking are themselves.

"Despite the name 'social networks,' much user activity on networking sites is self-focused," said Brittany Gentile, a UGA doctoral candidate who looked at the effects of social networks on self-esteem and narcissism.

According to the research, published online this month by the journal Computers in Human Behavior, the 526 million people who log on to Facebook every day may be boosting their self-esteem in the process.

Gentile, along with UGA psychology professor Keith Campbell and San Diego State University professor Jean Twenge, asked college students to either edit their social networking page on MySpace or Facebook or to use Google Maps. Those who edited their MySpace page later scored higher on a measure of narcissism, while those who spent time on their Facebook page scored higher on self-esteem.

"Editing yourself and constructing yourself on these social networking sites, even for a short period of time, seems to have an effect on how you see yourself," said Campbell, who heads the department of psychology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and co-authored the book "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement." "They are feeling better about themselves in both cases. But in one they are tapping into narcissism and in the other into self-esteem."

MySpace reported 25 million users as of June 2012. MySpace users participated in the experiment in 2008, when the site had 115 million active users. Facebook users participated in 2011. On both MySpace and Facebook, students scoring higher in narcissism reported having more friends on the site.

A total of 151 students, ages 18-22, completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory as a part of the study.

"The NPI measures trait narcissism, which is a stable personality trait," Gentile said. "But spending 15 minutes editing a MySpace page and writing about its meaning was enough to alter self-reports of this trait, suggesting that social networking sites may be a significant influence on the development of personality and identity."

The differences in site format may be one reason why MySpace led to higher narcissism whereas Facebook merely produced higher self-esteem.

"The two sites operate differently," Gentile said. "On MySpace you don't really interact with other people. The pages resemble personal webpages, and a lot of people have become famous on MySpace, whereas Facebook has a standard profile and a company message that sharing will improve the world."

Several previous studies found increases over the generations in both self-esteem and narcissism. These new experiments suggest the increasing popularity of social networking sites may play a role in those trends.

"Social networking sites are a product and a cause of a society that is self-absorbed," Campbell said. "Narcissism and self-esteem began to rise in the 1980s. Because Facebook came on the scene only seven years ago, it wasn't the original cause of the increases. It may be just another enforcer."

Social networking should not be seen as an answer to building self-esteem, he said, but the fact that people may get a jolt when logging on doesn't mean they should stop either.

"Ideally, you get self-esteem from having strong relationships and achieving goals that are reasonable and age-appropriate," Campbell said. "Ideally, self-esteem is not something you should take a short cut to find. It is a consequence of a good life, not something you chase."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Georgia. The original article was written by April Reese Sorrow. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brittany Gentile, Jean M. Twenge, Elise C. Freeman, W. Keith Campbell. The effect of social networking websites on positive self-views: An experimental investigation. Computers in Human Behavior, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.05.012

Cite This Page:

University of Georgia. "Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626115241.htm>.
University of Georgia. (2012, June 26). Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626115241.htm
University of Georgia. "Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626115241.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
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