|Facebook May Boost Self Esteem But Reduce Motivation.Nordqvist, J. (2013, June 2). “Facebook May Boost Self Esteem But Reduce Motivation.” Medical News Today.
03 Jun 2013
New research published in Media Psychology suggests that looking at your Facebook profile can be psychologically good and bad for you. The finding revealed that checking your profile is capable of boosting your self esteem while at the same time reducing motivation.
A person’s Facebook profile is essentially an ideal representation of one’s self published online for friends and family to see. Using Facebook and looking at your profile page can boost self esteem, but it can also reduce motivation to perform well in simple tasks, according to results of the study.
The lead researcher of the study, Catalina Toma, a UW-Madison assistant professor of communication arts, used the “Implicit Association Test” to assess whether Facebook has any affect on self-esteem or behavior.
This is one of the first studies of its kind to use this psychology research tool to evaluate whether there are any psychological effects associated with using the online networking site.
The Implicit Association Test involved asking the participants to associate positive or negative adjectives with words such as ‘me’ and ‘myself’.
The test is able to evaluate the strength of a person’s automatic association between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory. In this case the test evaluated what effect Facebook use had on self perception.
Only five minutes after looking at their Facebook profiles the participants experienced a significant boost in self-esteem.
Unlike other self-reporting tools the Implicit Association Test cannot be faked.
Facebook Can Reduce Motivation
“Does engaging with your own Facebook profile affect behavior?”
The researchers also evaluated the effect Facebook use had on behavior.
All of the Participants had to take a serial subtraction task, which asked them to count down from a large number by intervals of seven.
In March 2013, Facebook had over 1.11 billion active worldwide users.
Depending on how quickly and accurately the participants counted down, the researchers were able to evaluate their motivation to perform well in simple tasks.
Toma and team wanted to know if there are any “additional psychological effects that stem from viewing your own self-enhancing profile.”
People who spent time looking at their Facebook profile before the test answered fewer questions compared to the control group.
The researchers believe that after spending time on Facebook people generally feel good about themselves, so there isn’t as much motivation to increase self-worth by trying hard in the lab task compared to those in the control group.
These results are consistent with the self-affirmation theory.
However, the authors stress that further studies are necessary before making any firm conclusions.
Psychological Effects Of Facebook
Previous research that has similarly looked into the psychological effects of using facebook include: