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A University of Missouri study recently confirmed most of our suspicions about Facebook. Zuckerberg’s social networking site can tell whether or not a person is crazy. The study was published in the journal, Psychiatry Research (catchy name, guys) in late-December. The study drew conclusions from the habits and activity of Mizzou students.
The study was conducted by Elizabeth Martin, who is studying for her doctorate in psychology. Maybe she could get me an Addy script in exchange for this article? Worth a shot.
In exchange for course credit, Psychology 1000 students were asked to grant access to their Facebook profiles in order for Martin’s team to closely monitor the students’ social media habits.
The results of the study turned up some predictable, but interesting results…
To conduct the study, Martin’s team asked participants to print their Facebook activity and correlated aspects of that activity with the degree to which those individuals exhibited schizotypy, a range of symptoms including social withdrawal to odd beliefs. Some study participants showed signs of the schizotypy condition known as social anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities, such as communicating and interacting with others. In the study, people with social anhedonia tended to have fewer friends on Facebook, communicated with friends less frequently and shared fewer photos.
Other study participants concealed significant portions of their Facebook profile before presenting them to researchers. These participants also showed schizotypy symptoms, known as perceptual aberrations, which are anomalous experiences of one’s senses, and magical ideation, which is the belief that events with no physical cause-and-effect are somehow causally connected. Hiding Facebook activity also was considered a sign of higher levels of paranoia.
So pretty much the story here is that the kids that go out a lot and have a bunch of friends like to show off how awesome their life is, while the trolls that sit in the dorms and jerk off to The Sims don’t like to publicize how shitty their lives are.
The study also found that the most paranoid people are usually the most likely to yield the least information on their Facebook profiles. People who don’t necessarily live in reality are going to withhold pictures, information, etc.
I can understand that behavior for postgrads like myself, who are worried about an employer finding your tailgating pictures, but if you’re a college freshman in Psych 1000, you should be putting your shit out there, trying to close ass on any avenue you can, including Facebook. I once successfully parlayed a well-timed Facebook like into a sexual encounter in the library stacks.
Hopefully, Ms. Martin and her team tackle Twitter behavior next. I have a feeling that Bacon secretly runs a puppy mill*. If they can prove all that stuff from Facebook, they can surely prove that.
*Ed. Note: Someone can kiss their free puppy goodbye. – Bacon