Here but Elsewhere: Staying Connected in the Digital Age

Pace, Kristina (2013). Here but Elsewhere: Staying Connected in the Digital Age Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Pace, Kristina
Thesis Title Here but Elsewhere: Staying Connected in the Digital Age
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Tobin
Total pages 71
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Does a preoccupation with one’s Facebook activity divert attention away from social cues? Eighty-six undergraduates browsed their NewsFeed on Facebook and composed a potential status update on paper about a personally meaningful event. Participants were then randomly assigned to either post the status update on Facebook so that it was visible to their Facebook friends, or continue passively browsing their friends’ Facebook content. A cue to one’s broader social network was also manipulated in the background, such that participants were randomly assigned to either sit at a desk with a mobile phone or notebook. Participants who sat at a desk with a notebook showed significantly higher private self-awareness than those who were exposed to a mobile phone (p = .015). Compared to those who read their NewsFeed, participants who posted a status update indicated they were significantly more distracted by thoughts of their Facebook activity (p < .001), experienced more uncertainty (p = .007), and felt more negative affect (p = .016). Participants who posted a status update also reported marginally less engagement to clips of social interactions (p = .060), and scored slightly lower on standardized items of a social perspective-taking task (p = .066), in comparison to those who read their friend’s content in their NewsFeed. Models for mediation were non-significant, suggesting that although posting a status update relates to higher Facebook-related distraction, negative affect, uncertainty, and somewhat lower scores on a social perspective-taking task, Facebook-related distraction, negative affect, and uncertainty did not explain why participants who posted a status update performed somewhat worse at integrating social cues. Results are discussed in light of the consequences associated with switching one’s attention between virtual and physical environments. Future research should address broader implications of this effect for interpersonal relationships.
Keyword Facebook
staying connected
digital age

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Created: Tue, 08 Jul 2014, 08:59:20 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology