Beyond my graduate thesis students, regular readers know I also mentor undergraduate students.
This year I had eight amazing students present two projects at the Southwestern Psychological Association conference.
Being with and spending time with these students is the best part of my job. ACU students are awesome.
Why Wasn't I Invited?: Fear of Missing Out and Social Media
Psychological research has recently begun to focus on the social anxiety symptom called "fear of missing out" (FoMO; Przybylski et al., 2013). FoMO is the anxiety people experience when they feel left out of an experience that others, often friends and social acquaintances, are enjoying. Observing the lives and activities of others on social media should exacerbate the FoMO, but to date no research has been conducted examining the associations between social media and FoMO.
Two-hundred and seven participants (75.5% female, Mean age = 30.5, 66.8% Caucasian) completed measures of excessive reassurance seeking (Joiner, 2001), self-esteem (Rosenberg, 1965) and peer attachment (Armsden & Greenberg, 1989). Participants also completed a generalized measure of FoMO (Przybylski et al., 2013). Finally, participants completed a measure developed for this study assessing social media induced FoMO. This scale included six items, each with the prompt: "When scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and other social media feeds, I often feel..." Example items include "sad that I'm missing out on the fun my friends are having", "excluded and left out because my friends are together without me" and "disappointed that I wasn't invited."
Overall, the generalized FoMO and the social media induced FoMO measures were positively correlated (r = .57, p < .001). Social media induced FoMO was positively related to excessive reassurance seeking (r = .42, p < .001) and interpersonal dependency (r = .39, p < .001). Social media induced FoMO was also associated with lower self-esteem (r = -.39,< .001). In regards to peer attachment, social media induced FoMO was related to decreased ability to communicate with peers (r = -.21. < .01), lower trust of peers (r = -.35, p < .001) and increased alienation from peers (r = .41, p < .001).
Overall, the results suggest that FoMO is being exacerbated by consumption of social media. In general, FoMO in response to social media appears to be associated with lower self-concept (low self-esteem, interpersonal dependency) and difficulty in meeting interpersonal needs (low trust, inability to communicate, alienation).
No Means Maybe: Rape Myth Acceptance and the Dark Tetrad
Sexual assault continues to plague America, and college campuses in particular. A contributing factor to the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault is the acceptance of rape myths, a nexus of beliefs where blame is shifted from perpetrators to victims. Although numerous studies have examined the demographic and personality factors associated with the acceptance of rape myths, few studies have examined the associations with the Dark Triad personality cluster (Narcissism, Machiavellianism, Psychopathy). And no studies have examined rape myth acceptance with the Dark Tetrad cluster, where everyday sadism is added to the suite of anti-social personality variables.
One-hundred and forty-six participants (Mean age = 26, 75.3% Female, 77.4% Caucasian) completed the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance scale (McMahon & Farmer, 2011). Participants also completed an assessment of the Dark Triad (Jonason & Webster, 2010)--narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy-- along with a measure of everyday sadism (Buckles & Paulhus, 2014).
For the entire sample, all the Dark Tetrad variables were associated with increased acceptance of rape myths: Sadism (r = .40, p < .01), psychopathy (r = .33, < .01), Machiavellianism (r = .18, p < .05), and narcissism (r = .15, p < .05). These correlations were also run separately for male and female participants to explore gender differences. For male participants, all the correlations between the Dark Tetrad variables and rape myth acceptance remained significant, and generally increased: Sadism (r = .36, p < .05), psychopathy (r = .45, < .01), Machiavellianism (r = .32, p < .05), and narcissism (r = .40, p < .05). For female participants, narcissism (r = .09) and Machiavellianism (r = .12) were unrelated to rape myth acceptance. However, among female participants psychopathy (r = .26, p < .01) and sadism (r = .42, p < .01) were significantly related to rape myth acceptance.
Overall, the results of the study suggest that personality factors contribute to rape myth acceptance. Specifically, for male participants higher scores on all Dark Tetrad traits were associated with greater rape myth acceptance. For females, only the Tetrad variables associated with decreased empathy--sadism and psychopathy--were associated with rape myth acceptance. These results suggest that individuals with personality traits associated with decreased empathy are prone to beliefs that minimize or marginalize the suffering of victims.