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"Narcissism, Facebook Use and Self Disclosure" by Bonnie Anne Boyd Huling

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Affect regulation and the origin of the self.

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J Inf Sci. Download references. Neurotic people post mostly photos. Since neurotic people struggle with communication and social skills, researchers believe they use photos on Facebook as a means to express themselves. Neurotic people tend to have the most photos per album. Researchers believe this stems from their desire to present themselves positively. Over time, however, the behavior of highly neurotic people tends to change. Research Shows You May be Oblivious.

For example, they may create neat folders to help share their photos with friends and family in a methodical and convenient way. Psychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author. Amy Morin. False self-presentation, to a certain degree, is not a phenomenon that was invented in the digital age.

People often present themselves in a manner which is inconsistent with who they really are and with their set of real beliefs and values. We hence believe that such false self-representations on Facebook can lead to similar negative consequences and may merit increased awareness, and in some extreme cases — when the gaps between the true and false self are large and the person adopts his or her own false identity, even warrant counseling and treatment.

As such, we extend the idea of false-self and its consequent psychological vulnerabilities to a new domain, namely Facebook, which provides an efficient vehicle for developing and presenting a false-self. This is a natural compensation-defensive mechanism which shelters individuals from internal and external threats e. For instance, a recent survey showed that nearly two-thirds of mothers who use social networking sites felt pressure to create a social presence that depicted the perfect life, even though clearly life with newborns is not always perfect, i.

We consequently develop a theory which ties these concepts and explains the creation of the Facebook-self. Moreover, it may influence the well-being of many users, since a growing percentage of their social lives shifts to online environments, such as Facebook. Hence, some users, especially with vulnerable personalities may create online identities which are much more rewarding and appealing than their true identities. These growing reward may have the potential to increase user risks of engaging in precarious behaviors and even developing addiction to the use of such sites Turel et al.

As such, we see the false Facebook-self as a possible gateway phenomenon to more problematic behaviors which may lead to psychological problems and pathologies. We hence posit that the phenomenon of false Facebook-self merits research, and might be relevant for treatment in extreme cases. The ideal self often deviates from the real-self, and this can be a result of the lack of positive regard during childhood. It represents who one would like to be, as a result of the feedback he or she received during their developmental period. The gap between the real self and the ideal self is called incongruity.

Both theories also suggest that large gaps or incongruence between the true and protective self can lead to various psychological problems. This idea extends to online environments. One should note that there are also short-terms advantages to false presentations; and hence presenting a false self can be rational and perceived as a self-advantageous behavior. This behavior can be considered positive if it is done from time to time and if it is flexible, meaning the person can freely change his or her behavior in different states.

However, these advantages are realized primarily when the false-self is not persistent and is not too far from the true self. Hence, when these conditions are not met, a person may suffer from the negative consequences of his or her falseness. How can a false-self be created on Facebook? In contrast to anonymous social networks and sites such as: blogs, forums, and others , it is uncommon for Facebook users to present false surface information i.

However, their deep identities are often presented in an implicit way using cues and signals embedded in their posts and images. For example, people may selectively post images of them being happy dining at a fancy restaurant with good looking friends, in an implicit attempt to enhance their image in the eyes of others in their social network; even though their true selves may be depressed and introvert, and the rest of their week was pretty dull.

Consequently, users keep their identity much more implicit and create signals that present their identity in a positive way Zhao et al. Hence, the Facebook-self in this research is a collection of signals given by a Facebook user to his or her Facebook community. Personality characteristics that contribute to the presentation of a false-self, regardless of Facebook, are low self-esteem and unawareness of the true self Harter et al.

We therefore focus on these variables in this study, and apply them to the case of the Facebook-self. Why should we care about false Facebook-self? There are several negative outcomes which may stem from a false Facebook-self. Hence, therapists may want to deal with extreme cases of Facebook-self in order to prevent such issues.

The point at which falseness on Facebook requires treatment is a topic for a different study, and requires further research. Facebook is the largest social networking site on the Internet, with more than 1. People use Facebook for developing and maintaining social ties; and such uses can improve the well-being of individuals by reducing their feelings of loneliness and depression Kraut et al. Other possible benefits of using such sites include increases in self-esteem and perceived social support Ellison et al. For example, retaliation against people with different opinions may be common on such sites Forest and Wood, This unsupportive interaction causes social networking site users with depressive symptoms to have negative interactions and negative affect Feinstein et al.

This concern regarding social-and affective-safety may be one predictor that promotes social compliance and the development of false Facebook-self.

  1. Narcissists are more self-promoting;
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  4. Furthermore, lonely people that have low social skills tend to develop strong compulsive Internet use behaviors, and as a result have negative life outcomes instead of relieving their original problems Kim et al. Similarly, individuals with materialistic values who believe that online purchases will enhance their emotions and identity, develop compulsive shopping tendencies Dittmar et al.

    As such, Facebook usage has a range of effects on the self, much beyond the Facebook boundaries. As discussed above, Facebook can have positive impacts on certain users and negative effects on others, and it is also possible that it has positive and negative effects on the same users Tarafdar et al. One of the potential causes to this variation in the positive and the negative effects of social networking sites is the wide spectrum of Facebook users who differ in their characteristics, personalities, intensity and forms of Facebook usage, benefits they get from the social networking sites, and attitudes toward Facebook.

    Analysis of this wide range of personalities, behaviors, attitudes and emotions can shed some light on the various effects Facebook has on its users. Focusing on the characteristics that put certain users at risk might point to possible prevention strategies, and this is the avenue of research we pursue in this study. These users usually engage in social networking site use as a means to regulate their mood changes.

    When they have deficient self-regulation abilities, they may engage in excessive and problematic Facebook use Lee et al. From a brain activation standpoint, problematic use of Facebook is typically driven by hyper-sensitized and hyperactive amygdala-striatal system Turel et al. Attachment theory predicts that early childhood relationships of the infant with his or her main caregiver influence his or her long-term relationships with others.

    Hence, its relevancy to Facebook use, which is largely about relationship development and maintenance. These styles can influence Facebook use in various ways, and particularly non-secure attachment styles anxious and avoidant can be associated with the ways people manage relationships and interact on Facebook: 1 anxious attachment style is positively related to relationships within Facebook and 2 avoidant attachment style is negatively related to these relationships, with expression of jealousy and surveillance on Facebook Marshall et al.

    The rationale behind these influences is that Facebook users who are high in anxious-attachment are likely to maintain a larger number of friends, and to have more intensive relationships, but experience no satisfaction with these relationships. In contrast, Facebook users who are high in avoidant-attachment are expected to have fewer friends, to be less active in maintaining these relationships and to be less emotionally involved with these friends.

    Other major personality traits that have been studied in past research include self-esteem, narcissism, conscientiousness, loneliness and self-worth. Users with low levels of self-esteem and high levels of narcissism tend to spend more time on Facebook and post self-promotional Photoshop-enhanced images Mehdizadeh, Self-esteem was also found to be negatively correlated with emotional connection with Facebook Seto, On average, heavy Facebook users tend to be less conscientious and socially lonely Ryan and Xenos, With regards to self-worth it was found that its sources appearance, outdoing, and others explain online sharing of photos Stefanone et al.

    What Your Facebook Use Reveals About Your Personality And Your Self-Esteem

    Hence, Facebook users low on self-esteem will be more likely than others to self-enhance their image on Facebook, and present higher degrees of false Facebook-self. Lastly, authenticity is another personality trait which has received attention, because it is seen by many psychology perspectives as an important aspect of well-being Horney, ; Rogers, ; Winnicott, ; Yalom, ; May, and departures from it are often seen as increasing the likelihood of psychopathologies. Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to his or her own personality, spirit, or character, despite external pressures.

    Psychodynamic theoreticians, such as Horney and Winnicott focused on the internalization of external aspects of life during childhood as something that can lead to self-alienation, while existential theoreticians, such as Yalom and May focused particularly on self-alienation as the core of authenticity. Both points of view agree that authenticity is a key influencer of well-being, and that major deviation from it can lead to problems.

    Ultimately, the growth in Facebook usage seems to result in part from the various benefits it provides to its users; and that these benefits can vary based on individual differences in terms of self-esteem and anxious attachment styles. However, as we argue here, this growth can also fuel the development of false Facebook self-identities. Given the possible prevalence and importance of the false Facebook-self and its possible adverse consequences, the aim of this study is to analyze key psychological processes leading to a false Facebook-self, with an emphasis on key predictors mentioned in the previous sections.

    Integrating the possible influences of these predictors on false Facebook-self, we propose the model depicted in Figure 1. These two personality characteristics, in turn, will negatively influence the creation of a false Facebook-self. That is, people high in non-secure attachment styles are predicted to develop lower general life authenticity and lower general self-esteem. The study involved participants, females, 62 males, and 13 participants who did not report their gender.

    All participants were Israeli adults between the ages of 20 and 65 years old with an average age of The scales used in this study can be found in appendix A. A description of the scales and their reliability scores in the current study are provided below:. The Avoidance subscale was also composed of eight items, and assessed avoidance of intimacy, discomfort with closeness, and self-reliance. Based on the classification by Bartholomew and Horowitz , four categories or styles of adult attachment were identified, based on both attachment style levels and median splits — secure low levels of both avoidance and anxiety attachment , dismissive high level of avoidance attachment and low level of anxiety attachment , preoccupied low level of avoidance attachment and high level of anxiety attachment and fearful high levels of both avoidance and anxiety attachment.

    Previous applications of the scale reported coefficient alphas of 0. In the present study, coefficient alphas were 0.

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    In the present study, coefficient alpha was 0. The authenticity scale comprised of three sub-scales: authentic living, accepting external Influence and self-alienation. The Authenticity scale overall, had a coefficient alpha of 0. Very high false Facebook-self scores can represent a fictional self which may meet DSM criteria for delusional disorder, medium scores of false Facebook-self represent moderately self-exaggerated and enhanced self, and low scores represent a relatively consistent, accurate and reliable depiction of the self on Facebook.

    Please note that this study treated the false Facebook self as a continuous concept e. The Facebook-self levels measured in this study ranged between 1. Higher levels of false Facebook-self indicated large gaps between the true self and the one presented on Facebook. Several analyses were performed in order to test the proposed associations. First, the role of demographics was examined, and largely ruled out. Next, a descriptive assessment of the variables was performed, and demonstrated a preliminary viability of the proposed associations.

    Next, a sequence of ANOVAs was used for establishing potential associations between the pertinent individual differences and the Facebook-self. Lastly, a structural equation model depicting all hypothesized effects was estimated.