Graduation Date

5-2014

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Psychology

First Reader

Matthew S. Davis, Ph.D.

Abstract

Social networking websites have had a major impact on the social life of this generation. Facebook in particular has become a universal component in the lives of many people, allowing them to create an online self which may or may not be consistent with their offline person. Recent research has found that self-presentation online is strategic and deliberate in order to create a favorable impression on social networking sites (DeAndrea & Walther, 2011). There also appears to be a link between certain personality traits such as conscientiousness and extraversion, and social media use with regard to self-presentation strategies. In the present study, extraversion and conscientiousness personality traits will be measured, and levels of comfort with using the internet will be assessed to determine how they are related to online self-presentation. Participants will be approximately 30-40 Facebook users over the age of 18, recruited via Facebook. Participants will be given a 12-item demographic survey, the 22-item Attitudes Toward Computer Usage Scale (Morris, 2009) to assess their levels of comfort with computers, and the 44-item Big Five Inventory (John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008) in order to measure their personality type. Participants’ Facebook profile pages will be assessed in terms of online activity and aspects of self-presentation by four observers recruited and trained by the researcher. Although data collection and analysis will not be completed until March 2014, it is expected that extraverted personality types will be associated with greater Facebook use in order to communicate with others than conscientious personality types. It is also hypothesized that both extroverts and conscientious individuals will be less likely to express hidden self-aspects online than those who score lower on these traits.

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