The Hyderabad Deccan English Daily

Facebook activity unmasks mental health

Columbia, Missouri, Apr 19 (IBNS) You may be surprised to learn what your Facebook page is saying about you.

A recent study by a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri found that Facebook users are revealing a lot more information about themselves than they realize.

Research findings by the study's lead author, Elizabeth Martin, show that Facebook activity can be a window into psychological health.

It turns out that social-media profiles are filled with useful psychological information about the writer's personality and mental health. Your Facebook wall conversation, your lists of "likes" and even the photography you share give insight into who you are.

And for psychologists, using that wealth of freely given information may be a new way to learn about human behavior.

Communication that speaks for itself

In a first-of-its-kind study, Martin found evidence that Facebook behavior is indicative of specific personality characteristics that include a range of psychological symptoms and disorders, from social withdrawal to having odd beliefs and even paranoia.

"This is the first study we know of that has used Facebook as an objective way of examining specific personality characteristics. It supports the idea that Facebook analysis could be used for diagnostic measures and could help paint a clearer clinical picture of someone," Martin says.

By examining Facebook communication, Martin and her team could see how the study participants expressed themselves in a way that was natural to them. She believes the methodology could be expanded so researchers can look at people's Internet use to collect additional information.

Studies of psychological diagnosis typically use questionnaire methods, and those can be affected by biases. Participants may be trying to impress an examiner with their answers; they may be embarrassed about revealing certain facts; or they may not have accurate memories.

By eliminating self-reporting, Martin's study had the advantage of being a more accurate form of measurement, she says.

"The cool thing about the study was that all the information collected was completely objective, so anyone could get the same information we collected. And we saw how that was related to self-reported personality characteristics," Martin says.

New tool to study mental health

Martin and her co-authors worked with three undergraduate research assistants to collect information on 211 participants during one full semester. The participants were all freshmen, and all but two agreed to print their Facebook activity for the study.

Researchers examined the same printed Facebook screens of all participants. They checked how many friends each had and how many photos were on display. They read biographical information in the participants' profiles, checked the recent communication on their walls and noted likes and interests in such things as books and music.

The participants could opt to conceal segments of their printed information by striking them out with markers, and even the amounts of their Facebook activities that they chose to conceal exposed information about their psychological state, Martin says.

Some study participants concealed significant portions of their Facebook profiles. The amount of information they struck out was related to their self-reported level of paranoia, as measured by questionnaires they filled out.

While examining the printouts, the MU researchers correlated aspects of the Facebook activities to psychological symptoms that indicated schizotypy, which encompasses a range of people, some who withdraw socially and others with odd beliefs. The study showed that people who exhibited characteristics of odd beliefs concealed more information than those with social withdrawal.

Some study participants displayed symptoms of a condition known as social anhedonia, meaning they are likely to report experiencing less pleasure from enjoyable activities such as communicating and interacting with others. Participants with the condition generally had fewer Facebook friends, communicated with friends less frequently and shared fewer photos.

Internship at Harvard

Martin has never had a Twitter account. She uses Facebook only occasionally. And very carefully.

What surprised her most about the research was how open the students were with sharing their personal information on the Internet. "I don't think 18-year-olds realize that anybody can see what they have on the Internet and that it's permanent," she says.

She chose to do the Facebook study after a discussion with doctoral student Drew Bailey about Internet writing as markers of psychopathology.

Martin began her doctoral study at Mizzou in 2007 and is on track to receive her PhD in May 2013. She now lives in Boston and works as a psychology fellow at Harvard Medical School's McLean Hospital, where she runs group therapy sessions and sees individual patients.



No comments yet! Be the first one to leave a comment.

Add Comment


Latest Videos:
Theft at Kaladera, Malakpet, Hyderabad - 600 grams gold ornaments stolen Hyderabad gets over 11 cm rainfall in nine hours
Prostitutes broker murder case – 4 accused arrested by Kukatpally police Young man murdered by private financer in Vattepally, Falaknuma Police limits, Hyderabad

Related Articles:

Mother\s mental condition affects teenagers ..
UN marks World Mental Health Day ..
Mental Health Care to improve: United Nations report ..
Rehabilitation of Mentally Challenged Persons ..
WHO releases new guidelines on mental health care ..
Poor job as bad as no job: Study ..
Workplace accommodation: Lets think beyond duty ..
Ghulam Nabi Azad launches Sugoon project for mental health in Ka ..
Ban Ki-moon seeks treatment for depression on World Mental Healt ..

Pooja Misrra exposes Bigg Boss

Pooja Misrra sparks a new trend of Video blogging and in her first ever video blog she unmasks the truth of Big Boss. The Actress/Model/Anchor also de

ECT to be Banned in India

The electroshock, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), being used for the treatment of the mentally ill patients will now be soon banned in India. The tr

Facebook makes money from user's data

Los Angeles, Apr 17 : Social networking site Facebook is using its users's profile, status updates, messages and other information to help advertiser

Facebook-Nokia partner to increase connections

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IBNS) Social networking site Facebook and mobile maker Nokia on Tuesday announced a new innovation with the introduction of a built

White Swan Foundation for Mental Health partners NIMHANS

Bangalore, June 27 (IBNS): White Swan Foundation for Mental Health on Friday announced its launch as a not-for-profit organization that will deliver i

Scientists isolate gene behind mental retardation

Toronto, July 17 : With the help of a new sequencing technology, scientists have isolated a gene linked to mental retardation.
Mental retardation

Arjun Rampal launches official Facebook page

Mumbai, Oct 16/2013 : (IBNS) Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal has extended his digital presence by launching his official Facebook page.

The actor

"Shashi Kapoor is Fine": Aditya Raj Kapoor

Soon after the funeral processions of Shiv-Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray was over, Social networking sites were flooded with Rumors of legendary ac

Outdoor exercise healthier than gym workouts: Study

London, Feb 7 : A new study has found that going for a run outdoors is better than exercising in the gym because it has a positive impact on mental, a

Deepika Padukone launches her Facebook page

Mumbai, Feb 6 (IBNS) Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has launched her official Facebook page to stay connected with her fans.

She already ho

Facebook may announce e-mail service Monday

London, Nov 14 : Social networking site Facebook may announce its e-mail service as early as Monday, if online buzz is to be believed.
The announ

Kidney transplant patients with low physical activity 'likely to die early'

Washington, March 06 : A study has indicated that low physical activity increases kidney transplant patients' likelihood of dying early.
The res

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg meets Narendra Modi

New Delhi, July 3 (IBNS):Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who is currently visiting India, met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi i

Monster India launches professional networking application for Facebook

New Delhi, Oct 4: Leading online recruitment firm Monster India Tuesday launched a networking application, BeKnown, which allows Facebook users to est

30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Ensures Healthier 2010

Just add 30 minutes of physical activity to your daily regime and ensure a healthier 2010, according to an expert. Peter Brubaker, professor of heal

Tobacco tax hike could curb smoking

Washington, June 03 : Imposing higher taxes on tobacco items can reduce smoking among individuals with alcohol, drug or mental disorders, a study has

Related News

Hyderabad Metro Rail online photography conte..

Scientists identify genetic link to suicidal ..

Facebook shares only for non-U.S. investors: ..

Deepika Padukone to thank 15 million Facebook..

Amit Sadh gets on the digital highway..

Health News

Diet in chronic renal failure

Asima Azam(Dietitian): When 90% of the kidney stop functioning and the levels of urea increases in the blood called as uraemia kidney failure occurs. When kidneys are not working change in the diet can help protect kidneys and also from other diseases such as diabetes,high blood pressure which can worsen up the condition.The main cause for chronic renal failure can be nephritis,chronic infection of urinary tract,kidney stones,increased blood pressure,diabetes mellitus especially type 1,gout,exposure to toxic substances,abdominal surgical emergencies.During renal failure regulation of fluids ,electrolytes and excretion of metabolites are disr ... Read More
Latest Headlines

Now electronic nose to sniff diarrhoea?

Caffeinated energy drinks can cause heart problems

4 Foods for a Good Night's Sleep

New blood test to reliably detect tuberculosis (TB) in kids

Women at greater stroke risk from resistant hyper-tension

Avoid coffee and drink tea for healthy heart

Obese kids more likely to develop high BP

Volunteering boosts health and well-being of older adults

Pomegranate's wonder health benefits

Have close, deep and meaningful relationships for a stress-free life

Study reveals: Millions of mites crawl on face

Diet in chronic renal failure

Diabetic? Control diabetes mellitus thro

Liver Cirrhosis: A high protein diet is

Does smoking cause peptic ulcer?

This page was created in 0.199689865112 seconds