Do you own a smartphone? Based on this study 97% of smartphone uses between the ages of 18 to 24 have downloaded social media related apps. In the article Social media, texting, and personality: A test of the shallowing hypothesis Drs. Annisette and Lafreniere hypothesized that with the advancements in technology and always being connected to the internet is associated with a decline in reflective thought and decreases the importance of life goals “related to morality and aesthetics”.
This study was conducted by using an online questionnaire with 149 undergraduate students. Participation in the study took no longer than 30 minutes for each of the participants. The survey focused on five areas which assessed the following: texting and social media use, Big Five Inventory (BFI), life goals inventory, reflection questionnaire, and demographic questionnaire.
Learn more about Psychology with the Psychology and Stuff Podcast
Results from this study supported the shallowing hypotheses in a few different ways. To start, texting frequency and social media usage were positively associated with extraversion while, neuroticism and reflection were not significantly associated with texting frequency. Social media usage had slightly different results, it correlated negatively with reflection on life goals and had no significant correlation with neuroticism. Social media usage correlated with trait reflectiveness, the Big Five personality dimensions, and personal importance of major life goals.
Based on the data collected in this study it was shown that frequent brief social media interactions are associated with negative effects on people’s reflective thought and some of indicators of moral judgement. These findings also indicate that in the future this could have the potential to lead to a decline in academic performance and increase the difficulty for teenagers and young adults to form social relationships. As this article starts, while social media continues to evolve, so must research that monitors its effects.
By Sophia Sielen
Sophia is a sophomore majoring in Art and Psychology, and minoring in Human Development. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, she plans on continuing to Graduate school and working as a counselor for children.
Annisette, L. E., & Lafreniere, K. D. (2017). Social media, texting, and personality: A test of the shallowing hypothesis. Personality and Individual Differences, 115, 154-158. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.02.043