Facebook Can Bring out the Demons in You, New University Study

Created: 2012-11-30 07:13 EST

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With one-billion users, Facebook is now the world’s largest social media platform.

New studies from Lund and Gothenburg University in Sweden show that Facebook can bring out people’s dark traits.
 
Professor of Cognitive psychology at Lund University and co-founder to the study, Sverker Sikström, says these dark traits are caused by competition for  social status on Facebook.  
   
[Professor Sverker Sikström, Cognitive Psychologist, Lund University]: 
“So in order to attract friends then, you have to write yourself better and then you have this Machiavellianism, these traits and narcissism; so you try to bring yourself up and that’s the way of gaining friends.”

The researchers found that some Facebook users are developing interpersonally aversive personality traits, known as ‘The Dark Triad’—narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

The narcissistic personality is characterized by a grandiose self-view with a sense of entitlement, egotism, and lack of empathy.

Some theories associate it with the protection of a radically weak, shamed, or damaged self.
 
The Machiavellian personality traits include a cynical disregard for morality, manipulation and exploitation of others, a focus on self-interest, and deception.

The psychopathic personality is characterized by selfish callousness, superficial charm, impulsive thrill-seeking, lack of personal affect, and remorselessness.

[Professor Sverker Sikström, Cognitive Psychologist, Lund University]: 
“People that are high in these dark traits write in a different way than those that are low in these traits.”

Professor Sikström says these dark traits are closely linked; if you have one, it’s most likely you have them all, to some extent.

[Professor Sverker Sikström, Cognitive Psychologist, Lund University]:
”We have to think about what we write on Facebook and perhaps be more moderate and humble in our expressions. If you are true to yourself then I think you get the best friends in the long run.”

In our fast-paced age of technology, social networking may have created a new social and moral dilemma.

Going back to traditional values like kindness and honesty may give us a better way forward.

NTD News, Cecilia Samuelsson, Lund, Sweden.