Event Title

Young Adults' Argumentativeness and Responsiveness to Social Media Posts Varying in Emotional Tone

Poster Number

013

Session Title

Influence of Social Media

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Description

The present study examined young adults’ willingness to respond to social media posts varying in emotional content, hypothesizing that adults would be more willing to respond to posts with an emotional, versus a neutral, tone. It was also hypothesized that argumentativeness would predict greater responsiveness to social media posts. Participants were 144 adults with a mean age of 21.75 (SD = 5.52). The majority were women (84%) and Caucasians (62%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions via an online platform. Each condition had social media posts with a specific emotional tone: neutral, negative, or positive. Participants rated their reactions and willingness to respond. Participants also completed scales to assess their argumentativeness and social media activity. Contradicting the hypothesis, young adults were more reluctant to respond to the provided posts that had an emotional tone, even though the negative posts elicited the strongest emotional reactions. Despite saying they were hesitant to respond to the emotional posts in our study, participants indicated that they typically respond to happy and sentimental postings on their own social media sites; this contradiction might reflect inaccurate self-perceptions or the possibility that anonymity elicits different responses than does being identifiable. In partial support of the prediction, argumentative people seemed to seek opportunities to argue by responding to angry posts. Lastly, in comparison to African American adults, Caucasian adults reported being more concerned with being perceived badly on social media and more irritated when others were not similarly cautious.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2020; Sixth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2020

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Young Adults' Argumentativeness and Responsiveness to Social Media Posts Varying in Emotional Tone

The present study examined young adults’ willingness to respond to social media posts varying in emotional content, hypothesizing that adults would be more willing to respond to posts with an emotional, versus a neutral, tone. It was also hypothesized that argumentativeness would predict greater responsiveness to social media posts. Participants were 144 adults with a mean age of 21.75 (SD = 5.52). The majority were women (84%) and Caucasians (62%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions via an online platform. Each condition had social media posts with a specific emotional tone: neutral, negative, or positive. Participants rated their reactions and willingness to respond. Participants also completed scales to assess their argumentativeness and social media activity. Contradicting the hypothesis, young adults were more reluctant to respond to the provided posts that had an emotional tone, even though the negative posts elicited the strongest emotional reactions. Despite saying they were hesitant to respond to the emotional posts in our study, participants indicated that they typically respond to happy and sentimental postings on their own social media sites; this contradiction might reflect inaccurate self-perceptions or the possibility that anonymity elicits different responses than does being identifiable. In partial support of the prediction, argumentative people seemed to seek opportunities to argue by responding to angry posts. Lastly, in comparison to African American adults, Caucasian adults reported being more concerned with being perceived badly on social media and more irritated when others were not similarly cautious.