The influence of empathy and self-presentation on engagement with social networking website posts

Mayshak, Richelle, Sharman, Stefanie J, Zinkiewicz, Lucille and Hayley, Alexa 2017, The influence of empathy and self-presentation on engagement with social networking website posts, Computers in human behavior, vol. 71, pp. 362-377, doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.02.026.

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Title The influence of empathy and self-presentation on engagement with social networking website posts
Author(s) Mayshak, RichelleORCID iD for Mayshak, Richelle
Sharman, Stefanie JORCID iD for Sharman, Stefanie J
Zinkiewicz, LucilleORCID iD for Zinkiewicz, Lucille
Hayley, Alexa
Journal name Computers in human behavior
Volume number 71
Start page 362
End page 377
Total pages 16
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2017-06
ISSN 0747-5632
Keyword(s) social networking websites
trait empathy
social sciences
psychology, multidisciplinary
psychology, experimental
Facebook use
Summary This study examined associations between self-presentation, trait empathy, and engagement with social networking website (SNS) posts containing positive, neutral, or negative sentiment. It was hypothesised that participants would show lower engagement with negatively valenced posts than with positively valenced posts due to the increased cognitive and emotional effort associated with responding. It was also hypothesised that trait empathy would predict participants' engagement with SNS content. Participants' motivations for engaging with posts was also investigated through qualitative measures. Ninety-seven participants (aged 18–63 years; M = 26.32, SD = 8.68) interacted with a simulated SNS environment and described the aspects of posts that encouraged their engagement. Participants then completed trait empathy and social desirability measures. Results showed that participants liked, shared, and commented on more negatively valenced posts than positively valenced posts; they also hid more negatively valenced posts than positively valenced or neutral posts. Age predicted engagement with negatively valenced posts; age and trait empathy predicted engagement with neutral posts, and trait empathy predicted engagement with positively valenced posts. Participants described a number of aspects that encouraged them to engage with posts, including personal connections with the poster, humour or novelty of topic, personal interest in the topic, concern for the poster, positive experience by the poster, and self-presentation concerns. Results suggest that both self-presentation efforts and trait empathy can influence the type and amount of engagement users have with emotion laden SNS content.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.chb.2017.02.026
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
0806 Information Systems
1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Science
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, Elsevier Ltd
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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