Study: Facebook lowers control

Oct 23, 2012 by Katie Humphrey, Star Tribune (minneapolis)

Step away from the cookies. Too tough? Step away from Facebook first. That might make it easier, according to a recent study by two marketing professors who found that just five minutes spent browsing the social networking site lowers self-control.

"When people use Facebook, they feel happier about themselves," said Andrew Stephen, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who co-authored the study. "People who feel better about themselves are less likely to self-regulate. They almost give themselves a free pass to indulge in something."

The momentary boost in self-esteem, and subsequent relaxing of self-control, was strongest among those who focused on close friends while perusing the social network.

But people of all ages participating in the five studies comprising the research proved equally likely to lose control.

Facebook viewers were more likely to choose a chocolate chip cookie over a presumably healthier granola bar snack and gave up more quickly when presented with difficult math problems. Those who reported spending more time on Facebook in their daily routines were also more likely to be overweight and have lower .

Stephen said they suspect it is the repeated small indulgences that led to Facebook users' weight and .

"We have to be careful about using social media in the sense that it can momentarily affect us psychologically," he said.

From a marketing perspective, the study may be a step toward learning what type of advertising is most enticing on social media sites - say, luxury goods over toilet paper.

But he said the research could also be useful in people's daily lives, especially if they're trying to avoid temptation.

"If (you're) about to go home and (you) want to go to the gym, don't spend time on Facebook while you're on your way," he said. "You may decide not to go."

Explore further: UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

4 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zynga.com to show Facebook ads

Jun 22, 2012

(AP) — Zynga is starting to show ads from Facebook on Zynga.com, its stand-alone website that lets people play its online games away from Facebook.

The joy is in the social hunt

Apr 23, 2010

The popularity of social networking websites has grown dramatically in recent years. One of the most popular sites, Facebook.com, now boasts more than 350 million users worldwide. With so many people interacting with each ...

Facebook makes us feel good about ourselves: study

Jun 26, 2012

People love social networks. That's the obvious conclusion from Facebook's 900 million active users and its current standing as one of the most visited sites on the web, second only to Google. New research from the University ...

New research about Facebook addiction

May 07, 2012

Are you a social media enthusiast or simply a Facebook addict?Researchers from Norway have developed a new instrument to measure Facebook addiction, the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.

Recommended for you

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

8 hours ago

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

9 hours ago

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Virtual money and user's identity

15 hours ago

Bitcoin is the new money: minted and exchanged on the Internet. Faster and cheaper than a bank, the service is attracting attention from all over the world. But a big question remains: are the transactions ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.