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Jeff Hancock Facebook Research Featured in LA Times

Information Science Professor Jeff Hancock and Catalina Toma at the University of Wisconsin devised two experiments on Facebook and self-esteem. The studies were designed to show whether Facebook could act as a means of self-affirmation, rather than just a waste of time as many believe. In the first study, participants were asked to present a brief speech and then were allowed to look at Facebook, some looking at their own profiles and other participants were asked to view other people's, while they waited on feedback. Participants who viewed their own profiles were less defensive about negative feedback than those who view other people's profiles. In another study, the participants were given the negative feedback and then allowed to surf the internet, with a choice of which sites to visit. Those who received negative feedback were more likely to go to Facebook to receive self-affirmation it seemed, while those who received positive feedback were more likely to look at YouTube or news sites. 

See the article in the LA Times here. The Cornell Chronicle has a piece on the study here. The abstract and PDF of the study is available online from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin