A study by Kieth Wilcox, an associate professor at Columbia University and Andrew Stephen, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, has found that Facebook users who receive lots of likes on posts will see a boost in their self esteem with the backlash of this being an increase in impulsive behaviour.
According to a report by Today.com popular Facebook users can experience a loss of self control.
The study entitled: Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control revealed the findings.
Kieth Wilcox told Today.com: “Simply browsing Facebook makes people feel better about themselves and momentarily enhances their self esteem. It is that enhanced self esteem that ultimately lowers your self control.”
Put simply the research found that if you we receiving positive feedback from postings on Facebook then you were more likely to feel the need to treat yourself for the positive responses.
By feeling better about yourself thanks to Facebook users were found to be more likely to want to praise themselves which would lead to many resorting to impulse actions.
Some people were found to praise themselves by buying an item on impulse online, others would turn to food to “treat” themselves for their recognition from their friends.
For some time it has been accepted that people with more friends and likes on Facebook are likely to have higher levels of self esteem but never before has this been perceived as a negative outcome.
The study involved 500 different Facebook users based in the United States and part of the study was to ask about their financial situation, how often they would find themselves binge eating and what their online habits were.
The survey found that the Facebook users who had the strongest links socially on the site were more likely to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) wile they were also more likely to have lower credit scores and more credit card debt.
During one experiment in the research the Facebook users were asked to look around the internet or to browse through Facebook for five minutes and after this they were then asked to take part in an online auction.
The people who had been using Facebook for the five minutes with the highest numbers of friends were more likely to submit a high bid on items than those who had looked a the internet for five minutes.
The report by the academics has concluded that Facebook “is causing people to have reduced self control in a variety of situations.”
The impact of Facebook on self control was found to have a stronger affect on people who were heavy users of Facebook and these people are warned by the researchers to be wary about the effects that Facebook may be having on them psychologically.