Findings

Socializing

Kevin Lewis

November 03, 2013

What Are We Not Doing When We're Online

Scott Wallsten
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
The Internet has radically transformed the way we live our lives. The net changes in consumer surplus and economic activity, however, are difficult to measure because some online activities, such as obtaining news, are new ways of doing old activities while new activities, like social media, have an opportunity cost in terms of activities crowded out. This paper uses data from the American Time Use Survey from 2003 – 2011 to estimate the crowdout effects of leisure time spent online. That data show that time spent online and the share of the population engaged in online activities has been increasing steadily. I find that, on the margin, each minute of online leisure time is correlated with 0.29 fewer minutes on all other types of leisure, with about half of that coming from time spent watching TV and video, 0.05 minutes from (offline) socializing, 0.04 minutes from relaxing and thinking, and the balance from time spent at parties, attending cultural events, and listening to the radio. Each minute of online leisure is also correlated with 0.27 fewer minutes working, 0.12 fewer minutes sleeping, 0.10 fewer minutes in travel time, 0.07 fewer minutes in household activities, and 0.06 fewer minutes in educational activities.

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The Entourage Effect

Brent McFerran & Jennifer Argo
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across a series of studies conducted in both the field and the laboratory, the authors demonstrate that the presence of others (i.e., an entourage) alters a VIP’s personal feelings of status. Specifically, the authors show that VIPs feel higher levels of status when they are able to experience preferential treatment with an entourage, even if this results in the rewards associated with the treatment becoming less scarce. We show that the effect is driven by an increase in feelings of connection with one’s guests. Several alternative explanations for the entourage effect are ruled out, and implications for practice are discussed.

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When silence is golden: Ostracism as resource conservation during aversive interactions

Kristin Sommer & Juran Yoon
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, November 2013, Pages 901-919

Abstract:
This investigation examined whether the strain of ignoring another depends on the other’s desirability as a relationship partner. Participants were asked to ignore or converse with highly likeable (polite and egalitarian) or highly unlikeable (rude and bigoted) acquaintance. They then completed a task in which good performance hinged on successful thought regulation. Study 1 revealed that participants performed worse in the self-regulatory task after conversing with (compared to ignoring) the unlikeable person but performed slightly better after conversing with (compared to ignoring) the likeable person. Study 2 replicated this crossover interaction using an alternative measure of self-regulation. The findings suggest that the use of silent treatment may allow one to conserve regulatory resources during aversive social interactions.

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Is Self-Esteem a Cause or Consequence of Social Support? A 4-Year Longitudinal Study

Sarah Marshall et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Considerable research has been devoted to examining the relations between self-esteem and social support. However, the exact nature and direction of these relations are not well understood. Measures of self-esteem, and social support quantity and quality were administered to 961 adolescents across five yearly time points (Mage = 13.41 years). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to test between a self-esteem antecedent model (self-esteem precedes changes in social support), self-esteem consequence model (social support precedes change in self-esteem), and a reciprocal influence model. Self-esteem reliably predicted increasing levels of social support quality and network size across time. In contrast, the consequence model was not supported. The implications of this for helping adolescents to develop higher quality social support structures are discussed.

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The dark side of Facebook: Semantic representations of status updates predict the Dark Triad of personality

Danilo Garcia & Sverker Sikström
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using Latent Semantic Analysis, we quantified the semantic representations of Facebook status updates of 304 individuals in order to predict self-reported personality. We focused on, besides Neuroticism and Extraversion, the Dark Triad of personality: Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism. The semantic content of Facebook updates predicted Psychopathy and Narcissism. These updates had a more “odd” and negatively valanced content. Furthermore, Neuroticism, number of Facebook friends, and frequency of status updates were predictable from the status updates. Given that Facebook allows individuals to have major control in how they present themselves and draw benefits from these interactions, we conclude that the Dark Triad, involving socially malevolent behavior such as self-promotion, emotional coldness, duplicity, and aggressiveness, is manifested in Facebook status updates.

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Face to Face Versus Facebook: Does Exposure to Social Networking Web Sites Augment or Attenuate Physiological Arousal Among the Socially Anxious?

Shannon Rauch et al.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study tested two competing hypotheses about the effect of Facebook exposure on the physiological arousal level of participants who then encountered the stimulus person in a face-to-face situation. Facebook exposure may attenuate later arousal by providing increased comfort and confidence, but it is also possible that Facebook exposure will augment arousal, particularly among the socially anxious. Participants completed a measure of social anxiety and were exposed to a stimulus person via Facebook, face to face, or both. Galvanic skin response was recorded during the exposures to the stimulus person. Results were consistent with the augmentation hypothesis: a prior exposure on Facebook will lead to increased arousal during a face-to-face encounter, particularly for those high in social anxiety.

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Why do narcissists disregard social-etiquette norms? A test of two explanations for why narcissism relates to offensive-language use

John Milton Adams et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narcissists often fail to abide by norms for polite social conduct, but why? The current study addressed this issue by exploring reasons why narcissists use more offensive language (i.e., profanity) than non-narcissists. In this study, 602 participants completed a survey in which they responded on a measure of trait narcissism, rated several offensive words on the degree to which the words were attention-grabbing and offensive, and then indicated how frequently they used the words. Consistent with the idea that narcissists use offensive language to gain attention, narcissists were incrementally more likely to use offensive language if they perceived such language to be highly attention-grabbing, and they were also more likely to perceive offensive language as attention-grabbing. Consistent with the idea that narcissists use more offensive language because they are less sensitive to the offensiveness of the language, an additional mediation analysis showed that narcissists perceived offensive language as less offensive than non-narcissists, a perception that, in turn, enhanced use of offensive language. Thus, this study provides evidence for two mechanisms that underlie narcissists’ frequent use of offensive language, and broadly contributes to the understudied issue of why narcissists violate social-etiquette norms.

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MDMA enhances emotional empathy and prosocial behavior

Cédric Hysek et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) releases serotonin and norepinephrine. MDMA is reported to produce empathogenic and prosocial feelings. It is unknown whether MDMA in fact alters empathic concern and prosocial behavior. We investigated the acute effects of MDMA using the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET), dynamic Face Emotion Recognition Task (FERT), and Social Value Orientation (SVO) test. We also assessed effects of MDMA on plasma levels of hormones involved in social behavior using a placebo-controlled, double-blind, random-order, cross-over design in 32 healthy volunteers (16 women). MDMA enhanced explicit and implicit emotional empathy in the MET and increased prosocial behavior in the SVO test in men. MDMA did not alter cognitive empathy in the MET but impaired the identification of negative emotions, including fearful, angry, and sad faces, in the FERT, particularly in women. MDMA increased plasma levels of cortisol and prolactin, which are markers of serotonergic and noradrenergic activity, and of oxytocin, which has been associated with prosocial behavior. In summary, MDMA sex-specifically altered the recognition of emotions, emotional empathy, and prosociality. These effects likely enhance sociability when MDMA is used recreationally and may be useful when MDMA is administered in conjunction with psychotherapy in patients with social dysfunction or posttraumatic stress disorder.

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The Effects of Alcohol Expectancy Priming on Group Bonding

Allison Moltisanti et al.
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to alcohol expectancy theory, drinking-related information is stored in memory and, when cue activated, influences alcohol-related behavior. Priming of alcohol cues and expectancies has been shown to elicit both drinking and nonconsumptive behavior associated with alcohol consumption, such as willingness to meet with a stranger and aggression. These social influence effects have been shown to be moderated by individual differences in alcohol expectancies. In the present study, we tested whether an alcohol prime would facilitate social group bonding even in the absence of consumption, and whether such group bonding would be moderated by individually held social expectancies. One hundred twenty undergraduates (75% female) completed an alcohol expectancy measure prior to participation. Participants were primed with either alcohol or neutral beverage words and completed a collaborative group activity followed by questionnaires measuring perceived group cohesion. Several interactions were found between condition and expectancy reflecting that those in the alcohol prime condition with higher social alcohol expectancies reported greater cohesion on task-related, but not emotion-related, group measures. These findings underscore the complexity of the impact of expectancy and social behavior on drinking: the priming of alcohol expectancies may activate aspects of pro-social behavior, which may influence drinking, which in turn may feedback to positively reinforce social expectancies.

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Laughter with someone else leads to future social rewards: Temporal change using experience sampling methodology

Todd Kashdan et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research suggests that laughter is correlated with resilience and well-being. To date, there is little research on the subsequent social benefits following laughter with another person. We hypothesized that laughing with another person would be associated with greater social rewards in subsequent social interactions. Using a two-week daily diary study with 162 people (68% women), we collected data on 5510 face-to-face social interactions in everyday life. We found that laughing with another person during an interaction predicted greater intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment in the subsequent social interaction. There was no evidence for the reverse direction, as intimacy, positive emotions, and enjoyment failed to predict laughter in subsequent social interactions. As for specificity, laughter was associated with subsequent intimacy and positive emotions even after accounting for the variance attributable to enjoyment felt when socializing. As for robustness, laughter with another person had the same effect on subsequent interactions regardless of whether interacting with the same person or a new person. In summary, besides being immediately pleasurable, laughing with social interaction partners influences the likelihood of future social rewards. This study adds to theory and research suggesting that laughing is an important social bonding mechanism.

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Chimps of a feather sit together: Chimpanzee friendships are based on homophily in personality

Jorg Massen & Sonja Koski
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several recent studies show that animal friendships, like human friendships, are durable and have fitness benefits by increasing survival, infant survival, or reproductive success. However, the determinants of especially non-kin friendships are unclear. Human non-kin friendships are partly determined by similarity in personality. We investigated personality similarity of friends in 38 captive chimpanzees. Within-subject comparisons revealed that friends are more similar than non-friends in their Sociability and Boldness. Subsequent analyses, including both kin- and non-kin dyads, revealed higher similarity in Sociability among all individuals who sat in contact more often, while in Boldness and Grooming Equity the positive effect of similarity was only found in non-kin individuals’ contact-sitting. Our results show that similar to humans, chimpanzees’ friendships are related to homophily in certain personality characteristics, particularly those relevant for socio-positive and cooperative behaviour. We suggest that having friends similar to self in personality decreases uncertainty in interactions by promoting reliability especially in cooperative contexts, and is consequently adaptive. Further, we suggest that homophily in human friendships dates back at least to our last common ancestor with chimpanzees.

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Theory of Mind and Empathic Explanations of Machiavellianism: A Neuroscience Perspective

Richard Bagozzi et al.
Journal of Management, November 2013, Pages 1760-1798

Abstract:
We study theory of mind (ToM) and empathic underpinnings of Machiavellianism by use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, where account managers are used as participants in 3 studies. Study 1 finds evidence for activation of the medial prefrontal cortex, left and right temporo-parietal junction, and left and right precuneus regions; all five regions are negatively correlated with Machiavellianism, suggesting that Machiavellians are less facile than non-Machiavellians with ToM skills. Study 2 presents evidence for activation of the left and right pars opercularis, left and right insula, and left precuneus regions; the former four regions of the motor neuron system were positively associated, and the latter negatively associated, with Machiavellianism, implying that Machiavellians resonate more readily with the emotions of others than non-Machiavellians. This is the first study to our knowledge to show a negative correlation between perspective taking and emotional sharing in empathic processes in general and Machiavellianism in particular. Study 3 tests implications of managerial control on both performance and organizational citizenship behaviors, as moderated by Machiavellianism in the field. Our study grounds the functioning of Machiavellianism in organizations in basic neuroscience processes, resolves some long-standing ambiguities with self-report investigations, and points to conditions under which Machiavellianism both inhibits and promotes performance and citizenship behavior.

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Engineering social contagions: Optimal network seeding in the presence of homophily

Sinan Aral, Lev Muchnik & Arun Sundararajan
Network Science, August 2013, Pages 125-153

Abstract:
We use data on a real, large-scale social network of 27 million individuals interacting daily, together with the day-by-day adoption of a new mobile service product, to inform, build, and analyze data-driven simulations of the effectiveness of seeding (network targeting) strategies under different social conditions. Three main results emerge from our simulations. First, failure to consider homophily creates significant overestimation of the effectiveness of seeding strategies, casting doubt on conclusions drawn by simulation studies that do not model homophily. Second, seeding is constrained by the small fraction of potential influencers that exist in the network. We find that seeding more than 0.2% of the population is wasteful because the gain from their adoption is lower than the gain from their natural adoption (without seeding). Third, seeding is more effective in the presence of greater social influence. Stronger peer influence creates a greater than additive effect when combined with seeding. Our findings call into question some conventional wisdom about these strategies and suggest that their overall effectiveness may be overestimated.


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