The Psychology of Facebook

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The Psychology of Facebook

Open Universities Australia
Swinburne

Submitted as PSS110: Introduction to Psychology 1 – Assignment 1 Due Date: 25th September

Critical Reading Review
Ross, Orr, Sisic, Arseneault, Simmering, & Orr (2009) studied the connection between personality and competency of individuals and their associated behaviour on a social network site. To obtain this data, they used what is presently knows as the FFM – Five Factor Model (Costa and McCrae, 1992). This is based on two decades of personality assessment, revealing that five main dimensions are necessary and sufficient for broadly describing human personality. The FFM’s five dimensional traits; Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness are additionally measured using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, or NEO PI-R – a psychological personality inventory specifically created to assess the five factors. Ross et all (2009) based his Facebook study on a self-reported questionnaire from 97 students at Southwestern Ontario University, using the FFM with the assessment of NEO PI-R. This was in order to test the connection between the personality, behaviour and competency on Facebook users. Simply put, they wish to examine the nature of Facebook and how to predict the impact of its use via the users’ individual personality. Using the Five-Factor Model personality questionnaire, they obtained five predictions relating to the relationship between the individual user’s personality and their behaviour on Facebook. (They can be found at: Amachi-Hamburger., & Yair Vinitsky, Gideon., (2010). Social network use and personality. Computers Human Behaviour, 1289-1295)

The results indicated that traits of extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience had expected trends, however, the researchers did not find any significant connection between Facebook behaviour and the personality factors of agreeableness and openness. In addition, personality factors were not as influential as first hypothesised and revealed that a motivation to communicate was very influential in terms of Facebook use. As per Ross et all. (2009) findings, it’s suggested that different motivations may be influential in the decision to use tools such as Facebook. Overall, while there were connections between the user’s personality and the predicted behaviour online, the connection was not strong. Hamburger and Vinitzky (2009), similar to Ross et all. (2009), studied and focused on the connection between the individual’s personality and behaviour on a social network, using the FFM on 237 students at an Israeli University. However, in their study they replaced the self-reported questionnaire of subjects with more objective criteria – measurements of the user information uploaded on Facebook. Since self-reports are more likely to be influenced by social desirability (Impression Management: When we know that other people are watching us, we will tend to behave in a way we believe is socially acceptable and desirable), the researches believed that a more effective research method would be to examine the way people build their profile on Facebook instead of relying on self-report questionnaires – which are probably bias. A strong connection was found between personality and Facebook behaviour with this change.

The research difference between Hamburger & Vinitzky (2002) and Ross et all. (2009) suggests that information uploaded onto Facebook would limit the amount of biasness in the results and also creates a stronger connection between personality and behaviour online. It would be assumed that how/what an introvert or extrovert person uploads information on Facebook, they would not be conscious of the reasoning behind their uploads. (Assuming an average individual would not know the different reasoning behind having more Facebook friends compared to having more Facebook photos means about their personality). However, if the same individual/s...
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