Study: Facebook may improve self esteem but negatively affect motivation

Facebook Study New research suggests that looking at your Facebook profile can be both psychologically good and bad for you.

A Facebook profile is an ideal version of self, full of photos and posts curated for the eyes of family, friends and acquaintances. A new study shows that this version of self can provide beneficial psychological effects and influence behavior.

Catalina Toma, a UW-Madison assistant professor of communication arts at UW-Madison, used the “Implicit Association Test” to measure Facebook users’ self-esteem after they spent time looking at their profiles, the first time the social psychology research tool has been used to examine the effects of Facebook. The test showed that after participants spent just five minutes examining their own Facebook profiles, they experienced a significant boost in self-esteem.

The test measures how quickly participants associate positive or negative adjectives with words such as me, my, I and myself.

“If you have high self-esteem, then you can very quickly associate words related to yourself with positive evaluations but have a difficult time associating words related to yourself with negative evaluations,” Toma says. “But if you have low self-esteem, the opposite is true.”

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