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Work Psychology Research report

Facebook users display authentic or idealized versions of themselves on Facebook

By: Abhishek Mishra Ketan Vaghasiya Anshu Sharma Nitish Jaiswal Mitul Shah Thinking of using Facebook as a social commerce platform? Then it can help understand the social psychology of the Facebook user. Here are 7 evidence-based insights from recent psychology research into why we do what we do on Facebook (to learn more, check out Jeremy Deans wondrous

Its all about Social Capital, baby: Facebook is used to manage social capital the power, privilege and possibilities we have by virtue of the social networks we are part of. It has been found that Facebook users had higher levels of social capital in other words, they can profit more from friends with benefits. Social Capital is a BIG concept in understanding social media more in upcoming posts. How could social commerce help improve the social capital of Facebookers. The Facebook 7s. Tap into one or more of the 7 core Facebook activities identified. Note: connecting with, or buying from, brands and businesses is not one of them) Connecting (with People) Participating (in Group Behaviour) Sharing (Media) Using (Apps) Updating (Status Updates Sharing/Learning) Surfing (People Virtual People Watching) Investigating (People Social Surveillance) The Disinhibition Effect: Facebook disinhibits people insofar as people say, share and do things on Facebook that they wouldnt share, say or do in face-to-face situations. It was found that young, single people were particularly likely to disclose sensitive information about themselves. How could you use the disinhibition effect to build a revealing social commerce strategy? Beautiful People: It was found that attractive friends boosted the perceived attractiveness of participants profiles (unlike the contrast effect in real life). Boost the attractiveness of Facebookers by helping them mix with beautiful people.

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The magic number of 150: People can manage relationships with up to 150 people and it was found Facebookers social attractiveness peaked at around this number. Help people manage relationships not too many, not too few. Jealousy: Compulsive Facebook usage is a sign that your partner may be a jealous type (see social surveillance above in the Facebook 7s): It was found that participants who spent more time on Facebook were more jealous of their partner. Opportunity to build apps that play on partner paranoia?

The Truth is Out There: Strangely, people tend to be honest about themselves on Facebook: It was found that Facebook profiles generally reflected their owners actual selves rather than their idealized selves. How could you harness honesty in social commerce? The Psychology of Facebook

These days it seems as if everyone is on Facebook. According to statistics published by the company, there are more than 500 million active users, and combined, they spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the site. As for contactsor friends, as Facebook calls themthe average Facebook user has 130. Given the popularity of Facebook, its no wonder that researchers have begun studying the psychology behind this social networking tool. Here are some of the research studies that have been conducted about Facebook members and their usage of the site:

A 2008 study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found a correlation between the number of Facebook friends/wall posts and narcissism, a personality trait associated with an inflated view of oneself. Its apparently not uncommon for Facebook users to have former romantic or sexual partners as Facebook friends, but this practice can lead to jealousy. A 2009 study found that Facebook reinforces jealousy-related feelings and behaviors among those who are already prone to it. Again on the subject of narcissism, a 2010 study involving a small sample of college students found a correlation between narcissistic traits and the number of times Facebook is checked per day, as well as the amount of time spent on the site. Those scoring high on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory spent more time on Facebook. A 2010 study in the journal Psychological Science looked at whether Facebook users display authentic or idealized versions of themselves on Facebook. The researchers looked at the Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeable, and neuroticism) of Facebook users and compared these traits to the content of their Facebook profiles. What the

researchers found was that the users profiles seemed to match their personality traits, which leads us to believe that, contrary to what one might assume, people tend to display rather realistic versions of them on Facebook. Is Your Facebook Personality Genuine?

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Anyone who has ever spent time on a dating Web site like Match.com knows that the online profile often doesnt match the person in real life. So when University of Texas researchers began studying Facebook friends, they expected that users also would exaggerate accomplishments and offer an enhanced version of them. To their surprise, they discovered that Facebook profiles typically gave an accurate and realistic impression of the users real-life personality. The scientists, led by a psychology professor, Sam Gosling, collected 236 profiles of young adults on Facebook as well as a similar social networking site in Germany. The researchers used personality questionnaires and interviewed friends to determine the profile owners actual personalities, assessing traits like extroversion, agreeableness, openness, neuroticism and conscientiousness. The survey also measured how they wished to be, assessing their ideal personality traits. Using the same rating system, the researchers also assessed each users personality based on the information provided in the online profile. The researchers expected the Facebook profiles to match an idealized version of the users personality. But to their surprise, the online Facebook profile matched the realworld personality test.

Dr. Gosling said the findings suggested that online social networks could provide users with an opportunity for genuine social interactions. Is Facebook an opportunity to promote ourselves, a P.R. exercise? Or is it just another medium of social communication, like the telephone? Dr. Gosling said. This research suggests the latter. Young adults are using it as a way to communicate and leaving lots of clues about what theyre really like. The Facebook pages were particularly well suited for identifying extroverts. The personality assessment based on the online profile was least accurate for identifying traits of neuroticism, common in those who are anxious, uptight or worry a lot. Dr. Gosling said that finding was consistent with other studies showing that neuroticism was difficult to identify without a face-to-face encounter. This online social world is an important environment, Dr. Gosling said. If you look at the time people spend on it and the hours people devote to it, its not just a fad. Its meeting some important social needs.

Method: (comprising four subsections) Design Qualitative psychological research is where the research findings are not arrived at by statistical or other quantitative procedures. Quantitative psychological research is where the research findings result from mathematical modeling and statistical estimation or statistical inference. Since qualitative information can be handled as such statistically, the distinction relates to method, rather than the topic studied. There are three main types of psychological research:

Descriptive research Correlational research Experimental research The following are common research designs and data collection methods:

Archival research Case study Computational modeling Content analysis Controlled experiment

Field experiment Interview , can be structured or unstructured. Meta-analysis Neuroimaging and other psycho physiological methods Observation , can be naturalistic, participant or controlled. Quasi experiment Self-report inventory Random sample survey Twin study

In psychology, qualitative research has come to be defined as research whose findings are not arrived at by statistical or other quantitative procedures. Qualitative research is often said to be naturalistic. That is, its goal is to understand behaviour in a natural setting. Two other goals attributed to qualitative research are understanding a phenomenon from the perspective of the research participant and understanding the meanings people give to their experience. It attempts to do this by using so-called naturalistic methods interviewing, observation, ethnography, participant observation and focus groups. Each of these methods seeks to understand the perspective of the research participant within the context of their everyday life. This means that the researcher is concerned with asking broad questions that allow the respondent to answer in their own words. These methods allow the researcher to try to qualify their understanding during the research process through further probing questions. In addition, a method such as observation allows the researcher to observe people within natural settingsparticularly those in public places. This has resulted in greater understanding of people's behaviours in, for example, lifts, public transport, and queues. Qualitative research is sometimes said to have as its goal the understanding of the sample studied, rather than generalizing from the sample to the population. However, the results of qualitative research can be applied to other settingsas long as the reader of the research understands the limitations. For example, the research findings of a qualitative case study of primary school children in a particular school and their mobile phone use will tell us more about the mobile phone of children in the general population, than of adults. However, the type of school (public or private), where it was located, and the socio-economic background of the students need to be taken into consideration when applying any findings to other settings (either schools or the general population of children).

Participants Materials Procedure


Results: A 2010 study in the journal Psychological Science looked at whether Facebook users display authentic or idealized versions of themselves on Facebook. The researchers looked at the Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeable, and neuroticism) of Facebook users and compared these traits to the content of their Facebook profiles. What the researchers found was that the users profiles seemed to match their personality traits, which leads us to believe that, contrary to what one might assume, people tend to display rather realistic versions of themselves on Facebook.

Discussion Social networking sites have forced people to become more truthful with the identity they construct and present online, due to a dense network of friends established in their offline life being also present in their online life.

References:
http://www.mind-meditations.com/social-networking/psychology-of-facebook/ http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2010/04/perceptions-of-identity-in-socialnetworking-controlling-your-online-presence/ http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/02/is-your-facebook-personality-genuine/