Emotions manipulated in Facebook study

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Emotions manipulated in Facebook study
“Facebook made users depressed in secret research,” the Mail Online reports. The news comes from a controversial experiment where researchers used the social networking site Facebook to explore the effects of “emotional contagion”.

Emotional contagion is when emotional states are transferred between people. For example, if everyone in your office is in a good mood, chances are your own mood will be lifted.

To study its effects, researchers reduced the amount of negative or positive content that appeared in users’ newsfeeds to see if this changed their emotional posting behaviour.

The study found when positive emotional content was reduced, people subsequently produced fewer posts containing positive words and more posts containing negative words. The opposite pattern occurred when negative emotional content was reduced.

But the effect sizes in the study were very small – just a few percentage points in terms of changes in the positive or negative terms used by individual users.

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