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Study Shows Facebook Increases Self Esteem

| 3 Mar 2011 17:07
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A psychologic research paper showed that people who use Facebook generally feel better about themselves.

Even a casual user of Facebook knows that what people put on their profiles isn't always how those people really are. The profile picture is the perfect example as most will spend time making sure that highly visible image shows them off in the best light. What researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York have shown is that fiddling with your profile increases your self-esteem even after you're no longer sitting at a computer. Researchers Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock will publish their findings in the medical journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, but they caution that it doesn't mean Facebook is all that.

"I think that saying that Facebook and the Internet is 'good' or 'bad' is naive and overly simplistic," said Gonzalez. "Facebook and the Internet aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Given that, I want to know what that means for human behavior and what implications it may have for human psychology. This is just one small study trying to get at those effects."

The study separated 63 students into three groups as they sat in front of computers. One group looked at a dead black monitor screen, another had mirrors facing them, and the third was encouraged to update their profiles on Facebook. A survey completed after the test showed that those who were on Facebook held a distinctly better view of themselves, while the other two groups showed no increase in self-esteem.

"Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does not match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves," Hancock said. "We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one."

So what does that really mean? Are we happier when we show the world our best image? Is Facebook the panacea to all society's ills?

Yeah, probably not. But it's interesting to that psychologists are now looking into the effect that internet use has on our psyche. I wonder whether people who watch Zero Punctuation feel better or worse about themselves after...

Source: Fast Company

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