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PSYC1102 Lab Report

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    The relationship between shyness, anxiety and Facebook 1555    The relationship between shyness, anxiety and Facebook Jennifer Trease The University of Western Australia  ABSTRACT Research suggests that individuals with shyness or social anxiety use other means of communication in order to overcome their social barriers. This report focuses on the relationship between shyness, social anxiety and Facebook. We hypothesised that shyness would be strongly related to the number of friends and amount of time spent on Facebook. Also, that people who scored higher on the SIAS would spend more time on Facebook. 616 PSYC1102 students from the University of Western Australia participated in this experiment. Our research shows that there are correlations between shyness and the number of friends on Facebook as well as the time spent on Facebook. However there are no strong conclusions drawn about social anxiety and Facebook in our findings.  INTRODUCTION The relationship between shyness, anxiety and Facebook Facebook is the most popular social media site, used predominantly for online communication. First launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, it was initially only available to Harvard University students. Membership eventually extended to other colleges and universities in America and Canada, and in September 2006, anyone aged 13 and older had access to the website in many countries. As of March 2013, there were 1.15 billion active Facebook users and counting. Due to Facebook ’s accessibility  with the development of newer technologies, many people tend to use Facebook as a means of social networking. As Facebook is a form of computer mediated communication, it is widely believed that the anonymity, bridging of physical distance, perceived control of conversations, and overcoming the barrier of physical attractiveness, draws shy or socially anxious people to the site. Shyness is feelings of anxiety and inhibition of normal social behaviours in social situations. Social anxiety is related to shyness, but is not identical, as a person can be shy, yet not have social anxiety (Chavira et al., 2002). This experiment focuses on the correlations between Facebook, shyness and anxiety. Orr et al. (2009) studied the trait of shyness and its correlation with the use of Facebook. This research found a positive correlation between shyness and the time spent on Facebook, and a negative correlation between shyness and the number of friends they had. This suggested that the shyer a person is, the more time they spend on social networking sites, but they will have fewer friends. This paper also argues that computer mediated communication is a substitute to face-to-face contact and much preferred as it is less likely to induce anxiety in shy people. However, this paper did not expressly measure the levels of anxiety in individuals. Madell and Muncer (2006) measured social anxiety using the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) yet found no relationship between SIAS scores and time on social chat sites. This suggests that social anxiety may not be the cause of the relationship proved in Orr et al.’s (2009) paper between shyness and time spent on social networking sites. However, this paper did not examine this relationship with Facebook which is a very specific type of social media as people become friends in real, social situations and continue the friendship online contrary to other social chat sites where the relationship begins online (Antoci et al., 2012). Oldmeadow et al. (2013) examines the relationship between attachment anxiety and avoidance and Facebook in adults. It was found that people with high attachment anxiety used Facebook more when they were in negative moods. However this paper did not focus on shyness or social anxiety. Sheldon (2012) studied the difference between users and non-users of social networking sites in relation to shyness and other traits. This study showed that non-users scored higher on the shyness scale and therefore implied that shyness affects the willingness to even create a Facebook account to become social online. However, this study did not focus on the individuals who scored highly on the shyness test and   had an active Facebook account. According to Ryan and Xenos (2011) the shyness levels between Facebook users and non- users were very similar, contrary to Sheldon’s (2012) paper. It also showed that there was no significant correlation between shyness and the time spent on Facebook. However, this
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