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Abstract

With connections being made every day between people all over the world, Facebook provides an unparalleled opportunity for study into the behavior of individuals and their personalities, presentations, and pathologies. Are there certain types of behaviors that relate more to narcissistic traits and, if so, what does a general sociodemographic profile look like for an individual who most often exhibits those behaviors? Nearly sixty participants were included in the study. Despite the limitations, this study concluded like several before it, no significant correlations were found in the data to support a hypothesis that narcissistic individuals are more likely to utilize Facebook in any more grandiose manner than the rest of us.
Running head: FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION!
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Facebook and Self-Perception
Bishop Harber
Angelo State University
FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION
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Abstract
With connections being made every day between people all over the world, Facebook
provides an unparalleled opportunity for study into the behavior of individuals and their
personalities, presentations, and pathologies. Are there certain types of behaviors that relate more
to narcissistic traits and, if so, what does a general sociodemographic profile look like for an
individual who most often exhibits those behaviors? Nearly sixty participants were included in
the study. Despite the limitations, this study concluded like several before it, no significant
correlations were found in the data to support a hypothesis that narcissistic individuals are more
likely to utilize Facebook in any more grandiose manner than the rest of us.
FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION
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Facebook and Self-Perceptions
Facebook stands as a global giant in the world of social media. With connections being
made every day between people all over the world, Facebook provides an unparalleled
opportunity for study into the behavior of individuals and their personalities, presentations, and
pathologies.
In some cases, like with Toma and Hancock (2011), researchers believe the evidence
shows individuals can turn to Facebook to feel better when they are distressed in personal
circumstances. Other researchers (Skues, Williams, & Wise, 2012) determined that lonely people
used Facebook to connect with others but that narcissism and other similar traits did not have
significant association with Facebook use. Conversely, the Carpenter study (2012) revealed that
certain behaviors presented on Facebook did relate to narcissism when examining self-
presentation and anti-social behavior.
There are mixed findings on studies correlating the posting of selfies to Facebook as an
indicator of narcissism. Posting too many times on Facebook might make someone else look
desperate or it may conjure up that psychological catchphrase, “attention-seeking behavior.The
information is confusing with so many different studies and results. The current study seeks to
add a dimension by taking a Cerberus-type approach to the question of narcissism and Facebook
by seeking to correlate social media use—in particular, Facebook—with specific demographic
information in relation to narcissistic traits.
Simply put: are there certain types of behaviors that relate more to narcissistic traits and,
if so, what does a general sociodemographic profile look like for an individual who most often
exhibits those behaviors?
FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION
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Method
Participants
The participant pool consisted of 46 females (79%) and 11 males (19%) and 1
transgender female (2%) for a total of 58 individuals with ages ranging between Under 21 and
21-40 [M = 1.4, SD = 0.7]. The sample consists of 35 White or Caucasian or European American
(60.3%), 2 African-American or Black (3.4%), 19 Hispanic or Latina or Latino (32.8%), 1 Asian
or Asian American (1.7%), and 1 Multiracial or Biracial (1.7%).
All participants were college students from Angelo State University and volunteered
through the Department of Psychology and Sociology. Extra credit for a psychology course was
awarded for participation.
Materials
Descriptive Data. A questionnaire requesting information about each participant’s gender
identity, racial identity, age, marital status, sexual identity, level of education, religious
worldview, political affiliation, housing situation, and work situation was administered to
participants.
Facebook Usage Questionnaire. The Facebook Usage Questionnaire (FUQ) was a
researcher-designed measure that examined Facebook usage along five dimensions: frequency,
opportunity, location, content, and audience. Participants were asked questions about how often
they logged into Facebook, how many devices they used to log into Facebook, where they
logged into Facebook, the types of content about which they posted on Facebook, and the
audience filters they used when posting on Facebook.
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Narcissism. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory-16 (NPI-16; Ames, Rose, &
Anderson, 2006) is a forced choice format of 16 items with choices such as “I really like to be
the center of attention” and “I am an extraordinary person” on a 4-point scale. In one study to
establish validity, the NPI-16 proved an internal consistency of .72; mean inter-item correlation
= .13; loadings on the first unrotated factor ranged from .13 to .66 with the first factor capturing
19.9 percent of variance; correlated with the NPI-40 at r = .90 (p < .001)
Procedures
The study included an informed consent form, which all participants prior to the
administration of the surveys, in which they acknowledged their understanding of the process
and basic details of the study.
Once all participants completed the sociodemographic survey, the FUQ, and the NPI–16,
respectively, all participants were debriefed as to the full nature of the study and assured of the
anonymity of their responses.
Results
A bivariate correlation was conducted between the Narcissistic Personality Inventory–16
(NPI-16) and the Facebook Usage Questionnaire (FUQ). There was no significant correlation
revealed between the narcissistic traits (M=19.79, SD=3.10) chosen by an individual and his or
her expressed Facebook habits (M=157.45, SD=21.92), r = .046, p = .732.
No significant correlations were found in the data to support a hypothesis that narcissistic
individuals are more likely to utilize Facebook in any more grandiose manner than the rest of us.
FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION
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Discussion
The present study investigated the relationship between social media use—in particular,
Facebook—with specific demographic information in relation to narcissistic traits. There was no
correlation found in the data between social media use and narcissistic traits with or without any
specific demographic information.
There has been a significant amount of research conducted examining Facebook and
narcissism which has come to no clear correlation between Facebook use and narcissism. One
study, using the original NPI-40, found that larger exhibitionism correlated with self-promotion,
entitlement correlated with anti-social behaviors, and that self-esteem negatively related to both
self-promotion and anti-social behaviors on Facebook (Carpenter, 2012). Another study
produced a correlation showing that individuals that score higher on a narcissism scale yet lower
on a self-esteem scale were prone to greater online activity (Mehdizadeh, 2010).
Conversely, one study conducted both in Germany and the United States resulted in a
conclusion that the effect of narcissism on status updating on Facebook activity is not substantial
enough for valid measures (große Deters, Mehl, & Eid, 2014). This study confirmed that the
users of social networking sites believed that narcissism predicts status updates.
There are mixed findings about the higher rate of narcissism and social media. Some
studies have shown that couples who use Facebook extensively are more likely to cheat, break
up, and divorce. Teenagers who are inclined to high Facebook usage have shown signs of
behavioral problems, excessive vanity, aggression, anti-social tendencies, and poorer academic
performance than their peers. Some studies show Facebook usage encourages people to keep up
with the Joneses and promotes rivalry, boasting, envy, and more undesirable personality traits.
FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION
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However, a few studies have proven that Facebook usage promotes a greater self-awareness,
offers us a more positive version of ourselves, and even some go so far as to say that a new
definition of narcissism needs to be developed, as the current definition is now our social norm
(Williams, 2013).
The researchers found no significant correlations in the data to support a hypothesis that
narcissistic individuals are more likely to utilize Facebook in any manner that was more
grandiose than the rest of us. In fact, it appeared—however slightly and certainly only
anecdotally—a few participants that scored significantly higher on the NPI-16 indicated that they
used Facebook quite a bit less than the others.
Limitations. Several limitations to this study could be addressed in future approaches to
the subject matter. The participant pool was limited to students within a single university. As
such, the age range of most participants was under 21 (74%) which limits the responses. A
broader response base would enlarge the reporting numbers to provide a better look at this
phenomenon. Also, there were nearly four times as many female participants as male
participants. This could influence the reporting of Facebook habits, specifically, but also since
traditionally females are far more correlated with Borderline Personality Disorder traits than
Narcissistic Personality Traits, this could have an impact on those results.
Conclusions. Despite the limitations, this study concluded like several before it, that
Facebook habits and narcissistic traits are not correlated.
FACEBOOK AND SELF-PERCEPTION
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References
Carpenter, C. J. (2012). Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and anti-social behavior.
Personality And Individual Differences, 52(4), 482-486. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.11.011
große Deters, F., Mehl, M. R., & Eid, M. (2014). Narcissistic power poster? On the relationship
between narcissism and status updating activity on Facebook. Journal Of Research In
Personality, 53, 165-174. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2014.10.004
Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-presentation 2.0: Narcissism and self-esteem on Facebook.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social NetworkingCyberpsychology, Behavior &amp;
Social Networking, 13(4), 357-364.
Skues, J. L., Williams, B., & Wise, L. (2012). The effects of personality traits, self-esteem,
loneliness, and narcissism on Facebook use among university students. Computers In
Human Behavior, 28(6), 2414-2419. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.07.012
Toma, C. L. (2011). Affirming the self online: Motives, benefits and costs of facebook use.
Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 71, 4230.
Williams, R. (2013). Do Facebook and other social media encourage narcissism? Psychology
Today. Retrieved from Psychology Today website:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201306/do-facebook-and-other-
social-media-encourage-narcissism
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
The pervasiveness of social networking sites and the popularity of status updates have prompted the question whether excessive online self-presentation is motivated by narcissism. The present studies assessed (1) whether this concern is shared by users of social networking sites, and (2) the actual relationship between narcissism and frequency of status updates using self- and informant reports of narcissism and an observational measure of status updating activity. Results confirmed that users of social networking sites believe that narcissism strongly predicts status updating activity. However, analyses of the actual relationship in a German and US sample yielded null-results. Using the equivalence testing approach allowed us to conclude that the effect of narcissism on status updating activity is not substantial.
Article
This study examined the relationship between three of the “Big Five” traits (neuroticism, extraversion, and openness), self-esteem, loneliness and narcissism, and Facebook use. Participants were 393 first year undergraduate psychology students from a medium-sized Australian university who completed an online questionnaire. Negative binomial regression models showed that students with higher openness levels reported spending more time on Facebook and having more friends on Facebook. Interestingly, students with higher levels of loneliness reported having more Facebook friends. Extraversion, neuroticism, self-esteem and narcissism did not have significant associations with Facebook use. It was concluded that students who are high in openness use Facebook to connect with others in order to discuss a wide range of interests, whereas students who are high in loneliness use the site to compensate for their lack of offline relationships.
Article
A survey (N = 292) was conducted that measured self-promoting Facebook behaviors (e.g. posting status updates and photos of oneself, updating profile information) and several anti-social behaviors (e.g. seeking social support more than one provides it, getting angry when people do not comment on one's status updates, retaliating against negative comments). The grandiose exhibitionism subscale of the narcissistic personality inventory was hypothesized to predict the self-promoting behaviors. The entitlement/explo-itativeness subscale was hypothesized to predict the anti-social behaviors. Results were largely consistent with the hypothesis for the self-promoting behaviors but mixed concerning the anti-social behaviors. Trait self-esteem was also related in the opposite manner as the Narcissism scales to some Facebook behaviors.
Affirming the self online: Motives, benefits and costs of facebook use
  • C L Toma
Toma, C. L. (2011). Affirming the self online: Motives, benefits and costs of facebook use. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 71, 4230.
Do Facebook and other social media encourage narcissism?
  • R Williams
Williams, R. (2013). Do Facebook and other social media encourage narcissism? Psychology Today. Retrieved from Psychology Today website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201306/do-facebook-and-othersocial-media-encourage-narcissism