Navigation Links
Facebook Profiles Don't Stretch the Truth
Date:2/19/2010

Study found they closely matched the real personalities of the profile users

FRIDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Countering the notion that Internet users favor idealized virtual identities, a new study shows that people who join social networking sites such as Facebook create profiles that stick closely to the truth.

Members of such online networks may be more interested in fostering real communication and connections than peddling phony personalities, the researchers say.

"I was surprised by the findings, because the widely held assumption is that people are using their profiles to promote an enhanced impression of themselves," study co-author Sam Gosling, a personality and social psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Texas in Austin, said in a statement. "But these findings suggest that online social networks are not so much about providing a positive spin for the profile owners, but are instead just another medium for engaging in genuine social interactions."

The study is published in the Feb. 17 online edition of Psychological Science.

According to the researchers, more than 700 million people have already posted profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Facebook alone lays claim to 400 million-plus active users, 70 percent of whom reside outside the United States. Collectively, these users share more than 5 billion pieces of content each week, and publish more than 3 billion photos each month, the site notes.

To gauge to what degree all this information accurately reflects the true personalities of those posting their profiles, the researchers saved and analyzed the profiles of 133 American members of Facebook and 103 German members of that country's popular "studiVZ" social network.

Undergraduate research assistants in both countries -- none of whom knew the social network members -- were recruited to review all the profiles for an unrestricted amount of time, and then rate their impressions.

In turn, the users themselves -- all between the ages of 17 and 22 -- underwent multiple personality tests. In addition, four "well-acquainted friends" of each of the American Facebook users were also asked to describe their friend's true personality.

Gathering all this information, the researchers then generated their own accurate and idealized personality profiles for each user, which they then stacked up against each member's online profile.

Bottom-line: Gosling and his colleagues found no evidence that the people were using their social network profiles to promote idealized personalities. In fact, the research suggests that the apparent accuracy of member postings could explain why the sites have exploded in popularity.

"I think that being able to express personality accurately contributes to the popularity of online social networks in two ways," Gosling said. "First, it allows profile owners to let others know who they are and, in doing so, satisfies a basic need to be known by others. Second, it means that profile viewers feel they can trust the information they glean from online social network profiles, building their confidence in the system as a whole."

"It's possible, of course, that people are actually trying to spin a positive view of themselves but simply not succeeding. But frankly, I don't think there's a lot of people who try that," Gosling added. "Because if I'm an introvert who wants people to think I'm a sensation seeker who swims with sharks, it's not a simple matter. And people understand that. I mean, I would have to go and get a pic of me swimming with sharks. And even if I did, my friends who know me would know I never swim with sharks, so who am I fooling? And that's, in fact, one of the great things about Facebook. There's accountability with our friends."

Laura Freberg, a professor of psychology at California State Polytechnic University -- who herself has investigated the psychological forces driving Facebook -- expressed little surprise with the findings.

"I think that the early studies in the 90s regarding computer use altogether fostered this image of the disturbed, isolated person who was pursuing an alter-ego online," she observed. "But I think if that picture ever did exist it's very different in the social networking that we see today."

"Particularly in terms of the Facebook type of social media, the fact is that this is not an anonymous setting," Freberg noted. "You have your picture up there, and generally speaking people use a lot of personal identification information. And the purpose is to complete and continue connections with people they actually know in person. There's much of less of a tendency to use Facebook to go out there and meet strangers. Members are looking at their high school friends, and they're keeping in touch with family and people going to different universities. It's a way of maintaining contact with people you actually physically know, as opposed to hunting out new relationships."

"This is true, by the way, not just for college students, who were the first group that utilized Facebook," Freberg added, "but also for the fastest-growing segment on Facebook today: boomers. People over 55. They're also accurately representing themselves, because they're also looking for a way to maintain social connectivity. So I do think this study is accurate in its assessment that people are being fairly authentic online."

More information

Here's more on social networking.



SOURCES: Sam Gosling, Ph.D., personality/social psychologist, department of psychology, University of Texas, Austin; Laura Freberg, Ph.D., professor, psychology, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; Feb 17, 2010, online, Psychological Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Fans Spread the Love on Target Facebook Page and Help Donate $1 Million to Five Charities
2. Palisade PacketSure Certified for Twitter and Facebook
3. Novel Facebook Application Aims to Prevent Cervical Cancer
4. KoolDocs.com Increases Online Presence through Social Networking Premium Online Medical Consultation Service Now on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
5. The Omics Generation on Facebook
6. Baxa Corporation Launches Culture of Safety Facebook Page
7. Does Facebook usage contribute to jealousy in relationships?
8. WellNet Introduces Facebook-like Point to Point Healthcare
9. LOHAS Announces Final Program Line-up Including Speakers from Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, MINI, Facebook Causes, Saatchi & SaatchiS, Gaiam and eBay
10. More Than 167,000 Fans Flock to Target Facebook Page Helping Donate $3 Million to Ten Charities
11. Video: Adults Facing ADHD: ADHD Allies(TM) Offers Unique Online Community for Adults with ADHD on New Facebook(R) Page
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2016)... Knoxville, TN (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 ... ... professional fitness education and products recently hosted the first PowerWave Instructor Certification Course ... Fouts, who lead a group of fitness professional through the 8 hour interactive ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... OncLive® , a ... Cancer Institute-designated University of Virginia (UVA) Cancer Center to its quickly ... and marketing teams will publicize and promote public awareness of UVA Cancer Center’s ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... Redwood City, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... time, Silicon Valley-based startup, The Dough Bar, has ignited an undeniable buzz ... shake -- a doughnut. But not just any doughnut.  These doughnuts are packed with ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Workrite ... sales leadership and to further develop their rapidly expanding portfolio of customer and ... with a concentration in Marketing and an M.B.A. with concentration in management from ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Saint Francis ... several years, and the efforts have paid off. Since implementation of these ... of care to enhance perioperative patient experiences and reduce costly complications. Since implementation ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Open Access Journal ... Neurophysiology  Elsevier , a world-leading provider ... today announced the launch of Clinical Neurophysiology ... that focuses on clinical practice issues in clinical neurophysiology. ... series, normal values and didactic reviews. It is an ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... 2016 Een app die artsen ... collectief patiënten kunnen behandelen, hun kennis kunnen delen en ... de nieuwe en revolutionaire MDLinking App, ontwikkeld door een ... dr. Hans Flu en oncologisch chirurg dr. Gijs ... is, wordt op dinsdag 24 mei officieel gepresenteerd op ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... , May 23, 2016 Global ... 163 pages, profiles 12 companies and the Paclitaxel analysis ... figures on the industry and its players. ... comprehensive in nature, details the current state of the ... including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: