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- Tamar Chemel
- Write the reference for this article in APA style.
Muscanell, L. N., Guadagno, E. R., Rice, L., & Murphy, S. (2013). Don’t it make my brown eyes green? An analysis of facebook use and romantic jealousy. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(4), 237-242. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0411
- Write an “overview” or brief summary of the article in your own words. Indicate your assessment of what the study is about and the major findings of the study
This study seeks to explore the correlation between romantic jealousy and Facebook use with university-aged participants to envision themselves viewing their partner’s Facebook page with various hypothetical situations (Muscanell, Guadagno, Rice, & Murphy, 2013). The main research question of the study was to explore how gender, privacy settings on Facebook, and the existence of couple’s photos on the partner’s profile collaborate and effect the negative emotions of the participants (Muscanell et al., 2013). The researchers predicted that female participants would experience and report more negative emotions and romantic jealousy than the males (Muscanell et al., 2013). The researchers also expected that the participants would experience more negative emotions when the hypothetical situations involved a romantic partner’s couple photos and tagged photos containing a privacy setting, indicating the partner’s desire to hide or disguise their relationship status (Muscanell et al., 2013). In addition, they also believed that participants would self-report more powerful negative emotions if the hypothetical romantic partner did not have any couple photos up on their Facebook profile for others to see (Muscanell et al., 2013). The study examined four particular negative emotional responses to these hypothetical situations; jealousy, anger, disgust and hurt (Muscanell et al., 2013). The results of the study indicated that women more than men responded feeling more jealous, angry, and hurt to the imagined situations of a partner’s photos made private rather than being visible to all of their friends or Facebook users (Muscanell et al., 2013). Participants, both male and female, responded to feeling disgust if an imagined romantic partner’s photos were set to private, and felt more disgust if there were no couple photos present on their partner’s Facebook profile (Muscanell et al., 2013).
- According to the introduction, what information was already known about the topic (look for references to previous research)?
This current study was based off a previous study examining romantic jealousy and online Facebook use (Muise, Chirstofides, & Desmarais, 2009). The results of this study indicates that individuals who used Facebook more often described greater jealousy in romantic relationships, and thus constantly kept track of their partner’s Facebook use and profile (Muise et al., 2009). Based on their theoretical framework, this current study used hypothetical scenarios to examine jealous and negative responses to romantic partner’s Facebook use. This study also had previous information about gender differences and social networking use, particularly with the use of Facebook. Thus, the researchers used the previous research to make the predictions about gender differences and the self-reported negative emotional responses associated with Facebook use (Guadagno & Sagarin, 2010).
- What variables were studied? Identify the Independent and Dependent Variables if applicable. What were the hypotheses concerning these variables?
The dependent variable in this study is the negative emotions self-reported by the participants in the study. These include; romantic jealousy, hurt, disgust and anger. The independent variable is the hypothetical Facebook scenarios created by the researchers. The hypotheses are the sex differences of jealousy in regards to online information sharing behavior.
- What were the operational definitions of the variables studied?
Romantic relationships are defined as only heterosexual relationships. Facebook privacy settings are the modifications that control who can access any personal information on the social networking website, including; photographs, status updates and personal information. Negative emotions are outlined as hurt, disgust, anger and jealousy. Hypothetical Facebook situations are scenarios created by the researchers to explore the participants’ emotional responses to the online behaviour of an imagined romantic partner, such as “Imagine that you see a picture of your serious romantic partner with another individual of the opposite sex”.
- Who were the participants in the study? Were there any special participant characteristics?
The participants were both male and female undergraduate students, who were heterosexual, mainly of Caucasian ethnicity, and had Facebook accounts.
- What were the procedures used to test the hypotheses? Did you notice any problematic features of the procedure?
Participants were randomly assigned to one of the nine conditions set up by the researchers (Muscanell et al., 2013). After imagining this hypothetical Facebook scenario, participants were encouraged to self-report on a scale, assessing jealousy and other associated negative emotions in response to the imagined situation (Muscanell et al., 2013). The main problem associated with a self-reporting study is the participants’ self-reporting behaviour, which is inherently subjective and non-scientific, as well as susceptible to the social desirability bias.
- Was the experimental or non-experimental method used? Were there attempts to control any extraneous variables?
This research would be considered experimental research, as the independent variable was manipulated to examine how that will influence the dependent variable. In this study, the researchers manipulated the experimental conditions of the hypothetical Facebook scenarios to examine how it would influence the participants’ negative emotions. The researchers outwardly stated that the hypothetical situations were ambiguous, which may lead to extraneous factors influencing an individual’s emotional response. Perhaps if the setting and environment were not hypothetical or imagined, this research would yield more applicable and generalizable results.
- What were the major results of the study? Were the results consistent with the hypotheses?
As predicted and consistent with previous research, the results of the study indicated that women responded with more powerful feelings of jealousy, hurt and anger to the hypothetical Facebook scenarios created by the researchers (Muscanell et al., 2013). In addition, all participants had increased feelings of jealousy, disgust, anger and hurt when they had to visualize their romantic partner not having any couple photographs present on their Facebook profile or having those photos set to private so no other Facebook users or friends could see them (Muscanell et al., 2013).
- Did the author give suggestions for future research or applications? Can you provide other suggestions?
The authors did identify limitations to the study, and directions for future research in the area. One suggestion indicates that future researchers should study the long-lasting effects of privacy settings and couple-related information availability on romantic relationships (Muscanell et al., 2013). Age and sexuality are two factors that this study did not include, and future research might be able to indicate how these results differ if they were to examine various ages or sexualities (Muscanell et al., 2013). As the study also suggested, future research should also examine the behavioral outcomes of these negative emotions that are elicited from the manipulation of privacy settings used on Facebook which can have potential real-life implications for interpersonal relationships (Muscanell et al., 2013). Another direction researchers could take is to examine how the manipulation of privacy settings on other social networking sites influence the likelihood of extra-relational affairs and success of relationships and how that has changed since social networking sites like Facebook existed.
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