Does Social Media Influence Your Self-Control? Yes, Say Researchers

cookiesUsers of Facebook and other social networks should beware of allowing their self-esteem—boosted by “likes” or positive comments from close friends—to influence their behavior: It could reduce their self-control both on and offline, according to an academic paper by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School that has recently been published online in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Titled “Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control,” the research paper demonstrates that users who are focused on close friends tend to experience an increase in self-esteem while browsing their social networks; afterwards, these users display less self-control. Greater social network use among this category of users with strong ties to their friends is also associated with individuals having higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt, according to the paper.

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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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