Does Causal Uncertainty Predict People’s Social Network Site Behaviours?

McDonough, Matthew (2014). Does Causal Uncertainty Predict People’s Social Network Site Behaviours? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author McDonough, Matthew
Thesis Title Does Causal Uncertainty Predict People’s Social Network Site Behaviours?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Tobin
Total pages 99
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Causally uncertain (CU) people struggle to understand the causes of events in their social world. This struggle creates difficulties in their social interactions with others, as well as driving them to seek out social information in order to reduce their uncertainty (Boucher & Jacobson, 2012; Weary & Edwards, 1996). Social Network Sites (SNSs) provide ideal platforms for acquiring social information, as well as new ways to communicate with others. People generally engage in either passive or interactive behaviours on these sites. Engaging in interactive behaviours is generally beneficial for people, whereas engaging in passive behaviours is usually detrimental (Burke, 2011; Doodson et al., 2013). Given these differences, this paper was interested in what determines people’s SNS behaviours. It was predicted that due to the difficulties CU people have in their social interactions, that causal uncertainty would be associated with fewer interactive behaviours. Furthermore, as a result of these difficulties, it was predicted that CU people would prefer passive SNS behaviours and therefore engage in more of them. Two survey studies were conducted using Facebook as the SNS. Study 1 was correlational in design and examined the effect that trait causal uncertainty had on participants’ general Facebook use and attitudes. Study 2 was an experiment and was interested in people’s passive and interactive information seeking behaviours on Facebook and whether causal uncertainty would influence them. Study 2 primed participants with causal uncertainty, presented them with four hypothetical uncertain Facebook scenarios, and then asked participants to indicate the Facebook behaviours (passive or interactive) they would use to respond to these scenarios. Both studies hypotheses were unsupported, with Study 1 finding nothing and the primes failing to have an effect on participants’ behaviours in Study 2. However, Study 2 also included a measure of trait CU, which was found to be associated with more passive and interactive behaviours. Therefore, the paper still provides support found for the notion that causal uncertainty influences people’s SNS behaviours. The findings and their implications are discussed.
Keyword Casual uncertainty
Social networking sites
Social interaction

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Created: Wed, 27 May 2015, 10:49:14 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology