Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking


Most people use Facebook on a daily basis; few are aware of the consequences. Based on a 1-week experiment with 1,095 participants in late 2015 in Denmark, this study provides causal evidence that Facebook use affects our well-being negatively. By comparing the treatment group (participants who took a break from Facebook) with the control group (participants who kept using Facebook), it was demonstrated that taking a break from Facebook has positive effects on the two dimensions of well-being: our life satisfaction increases and our emotions become more positive. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these effects were significantly greater for heavy Facebook users, passive Facebook users, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook.

Concepts: Dimension, Manifold, Linear algebra, Real number, Social network service, Facebook, Criticism of Facebook


From the oversexualized characters in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden, to the overuse of the damsel in distress trope in popular titles, such as the Super Mario series, the under- and misrepresentation of females in video games has been well documented in several content analyses. Cultivation theory suggests that long-term exposure to media content can affect perceptions of social realities in a way that they become more similar to the representations in the media and, in turn, impact one’s beliefs and attitudes. Previous studies on video games and cultivation have often been cross-sectional or experimental, and the limited longitudinal work in this area has only considered time intervals of up to 1 month. Additionally, previous work in this area has focused on the effects of violent content and relied on self-selected or convenience samples composed mostly of adolescents or college students. Enlisting a 3 year longitudinal design, the present study assessed the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes, using data from a representative sample of German players aged 14 and older (N=824). Controlling for age and education, it was found that sexist attitudes-measured with a brief scale assessing beliefs about gender roles in society-were not related to the amount of daily video game use or preference for specific genres for both female and male players. Implications for research on sexism in video games and cultivation effects of video games in general are discussed.

Concepts: Cross-sectional study, Gender, Sociology, Mario, Super Mario Bros., Princess Peach, Super Mario Galaxy


As the use and influence of social networking continues to grow, researchers have begun to explore its consequences for psychological well-being. Some research suggests that Facebook use can have negative consequences for well-being. Instagram, a photo-sharing social network created in 2010, has particular characteristics that may make users susceptible to negative consequences. This study tested a theoretically grounded moderated meditation model of the association between Instagram use and depressive symptoms through the mechanism of negative social comparison, and moderation by amount of strangers one follows. One hundred and seventeen 18-29 year olds completed online questionnaires containing demographics, frequency of Instagram use, amount of strangers followed on Instagram, the Center for Epidemiological Resources Scale for Depression, and the Social Comparison Rating Scale. Instagram use was marginally positively associated with depressive symptoms, and positive social comparison was significantly negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Amount of strangers followed moderated the associations of Instagram use with social comparison (significantly) and depressive symptoms (marginally), and further significantly moderated the indirect association of Instagram use with depressive symptoms through social comparison. Findings generally suggest that more frequent Instagram use has negative associations for people who follow more strangers, but positive associations for people who follow fewer strangers, with social comparison and depressive symptoms. Implications of negative associations of social networking for people who follow strangers and the need for more research on Instagram use given its increasing popularity are explored.

Concepts: Sociology, The Association, Major depressive disorder, Explorer, Social network service, Internet Explorer


Abstract Job applicants and incumbents often use social media for personal communications allowing for direct observation of their social communications “unfiltered” for employer consumption. As such, these data offer a glimpse of employees in settings free from the impression management pressures present during evaluations conducted for applicant screening and research purposes. This study investigated whether job applicants' (N=175) personality characteristics are reflected in the content of their social media postings. Participant self-reported social media content related to (a) photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and (b) criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called “badmouthing” behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments. Results indicated that extraverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs. Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors. Evidence concerning the relationships between conscientiousness and the outcomes of interest was mixed.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, Sociology, Drug addiction, Employment, Communication, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory


Abstract Electronic games have rapidly become a popular form of human recreation, and the immersive experiences they provide millions have led many to voice concerns that some games, and violent ones in particular, may negatively impact society. Increasingly heated debates make it clear that gaming-related aggression is a topic that elicits strong opinions. Despite a complex and growing literature concerned with violent games, little is known empirically about why some ardently believe, whereas others dismiss, notions that this form of leisure is a source of aggression. The present research recruited three nationally representative samples to investigate this understudied topic. Results showed that belief was normally distributed across the population, prominent among demographic cohorts who did not grow up with games and those who lack concrete gaming experience. Results are discussed in the context of this developing research area, wider social science perspectives, and the place of electronic games in society.

Concepts: Present, Belief, Epistemology, Sociology, Science, Experience, Metaphysics, Abstraction


Abstract In the context of Internet addiction, cybersex is considered to be an Internet application in which users are at risk for developing addictive usage behavior. Regarding males, experimental research has shown that indicators of sexual arousal and craving in response to Internet pornographic cues are related to severity of cybersex addiction in Internet pornography users (IPU). Since comparable investigations on females do not exist, the aim of this study is to investigate predictors of cybersex addiction in heterosexual women. We examined 51 female IPU and 51 female non-Internet pornography users (NIPU). Using questionnaires, we assessed the severity of cybersex addiction in general, as well as propensity for sexual excitation, general problematic sexual behavior, and severity of psychological symptoms. Additionally, an experimental paradigm, including a subjective arousal rating of 100 pornographic pictures, as well as indicators of craving, was conducted. Results indicated that IPU rated pornographic pictures as more arousing and reported greater craving due to pornographic picture presentation compared with NIPU. Moreover, craving, sexual arousal rating of pictures, sensitivity to sexual excitation, problematic sexual behavior, and severity of psychological symptoms predicted tendencies toward cybersex addiction in IPU. Being in a relationship, number of sexual contacts, satisfaction with sexual contacts, and use of interactive cybersex were not associated with cybersex addiction. These results are in line with those reported for heterosexual males in previous studies. Findings regarding the reinforcing nature of sexual arousal, the mechanisms of learning, and the role of cue reactivity and craving in the development of cybersex addiction in IPU need to be discussed.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Addiction, Human sexuality, Erotica, Sexual arousal, Pornography, Pornography addiction


Palatable food induces general approach tendencies when compared to nonfood stimuli. For eating disorders, the modification of an attention bias toward food was proposed as a treatment option. Similar approaches have been efficient for other psychiatric conditions and, recently, successfully incorporated approach motivation. The direct impact of attentional biases on spontaneous natural behavior has hardly been investigated so far, although actions may serve as an intervention target, especially seeing the recent advances in the field of embodied cognition. In this study, we addressed the interplay of motor action execution and cognition when interacting with food objects. In a Virtual Reality (VR) setting, healthy participants repeatedly grasped or warded high-calorie food or hand-affordant ball objects using their own dominant hand. This novel experimental paradigm revealed an attention-like bias in hand-based actions: 3D objects of food were collected faster than ball objects, and this difference correlated positively with both individual body mass index and diet-related attitudes. The behavioral bias for food in hand movements complements several recent experimental and neurophysiological findings. Implications for the use of VR in the treatment of eating-related health problems are discussed.

Concepts: Psychology, Nutrition, Body mass index, Cognition, Cognitive science, Cognitive bias, Motivation, Bias


A virtual pet in the form of a mid-sized dog was developed based on the framework of social cognitive theory and tested as a vehicle for promoting fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption in children. Three groups of children (N = 68) between the ages of 7 and 13 years were studied: baseline (no treatment), computer only, and virtual dog. Children in the virtual dog condition interacted with the virtual dog for 3 days, setting F&V consumption goals and receiving evaluation and reinforcement based on whether they met their self-set goals. Children vicariously experienced future health outcomes of F&V consumption by seeing, hearing, and feeling their virtual dog’s physical and mental health improve or deteriorate based on their F&V consumption in the physical world. Children in the computer only condition interacted with a computer system that presented equivalent features, but without the virtual dog. Children in the baseline condition did not receive any experimental treatment. Results indicated that children in the virtual dog condition chose to be served significantly more F&V than those in the computer only or baseline conditions did. However, children in the virtual dog condition were unable to consume significantly more F&V than those in the computer only condition, although children in those two conditions consumed more F&V than the baseline condition. Food preferences did not differ significantly across the three conditions before and after the experimental treatments. Theoretical and practical potentials of using a virtual pet to promote F&V consumption systematically in children are discussed.

Concepts: Computer, Theory, Fruit, Social cognitive theory, Personal computer, Pet, Pets, Digital pet


Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine how social networking site (SNS) use, specifically Twitter use, influences negative interpersonal relationship outcomes. This study specifically examined the mediational effect of Twitter-related conflict on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes, and how this mechanism may be contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. A total of 581 Twitter users aged 18 to 67 years (Mage=29, SDage=8.9) completed an online survey questionnaire. Moderation-mediation regression analyses using bootstrapping methods indicated that Twitter-related conflict mediated the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The length of the romantic relationship, however, did not moderate the indirect effect on the relationship between active Twitter use and negative relationship outcomes. The results from this study suggest that active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce. This indirect effect is not contingent on the length of the romantic relationship. The current study adds to the growing body of literature investigating SNS use and romantic relationship outcomes.

Concepts: Family, Marriage, Interpersonal relationship, Love, Social network service, Intimate relationship, Romance, Twitter


Abstract This study examined how creating a human presence in organizational online communication affects organization-public relationships and publics' favorable behavioral intentions to engage in word-of-mouth (WOM) and dialogic communications. Four hypotheses were tested in the context of Twitter through a 2×2 (presence: human vs. organizational×organization type: nonprofit vs. for-profit) within-subjects design. The results revealed that conversational human voice was perceived to be higher for Twitter pages of organizations with a human presence than for those with an organizational presence. Providing a human presence on social media through the use of social media managers' avatars and names appeared to promote favorable organization-public relationships and positive WOM communication. However, dialogic communication intentions did not significantly differ between organizations incorporating a human presence versus an organizational presence into their Twitter pages. The proposed dynamic role of human presence versus organizational presence adds a new perspective as to how organizations can take better advantage of interpersonal aspects of social media.

Concepts: Psychology, Interpersonal relationship, Web 2.0, Social network service, Twitter, Organizational studies