Facebook is already the focus of some of our less desirable psychological traits, what with sad and lonely people over-sharing, and the fact that we hate happy Facebook couples. Well, here’s another bad Facebook habit: we tend to creep our most pathetic friends profiles when we’re in a bad mood.
A study published in Computers and Human Behaviour has found that, whilst we normally use social media to lurk the profiles of our more successful friends and colleagues, we do the opposite when we’re in a bad mood. Researchers had 168 college students take a test on facial emotion recognition. Regardless of how well they actually did, half were told they did “terrible”, and half were told they did “excellent” (researcher’s words) in order to put them in good or bad moods.
Then, the students had to review a faux-Facebook site called SocialLink, which the students were told was a new, up-and-coming social media platform. However, it was presented as a brutally honest one, where people’s attractiveness and career success were rated one to five by users. Researchers tracked how much time their subjects spent on profiles. Sure enough, those who had been put in a bad mood tented to spend more time on the pages of the least successful and least attractive people.
So, why would we do something like that? Well, if those students are anything like us, it’s because we like a little reminder that, no matter how bad things are, they could be way worse.
Photo courtesy of Floyd Brown.