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Thursday
Nov032011

How Does Social Media Influence Relationships?: The Morning Show Discussion

Last Friday, I woke up at 4:30am for an appearance on The Morning Show to answer this question. Click here to see the video of the interview.

It is also a question that I and other SofR writers have explored previously. On the show, I discussed my own research about the association between spending time on Facebook and the experience of jealousy.1 I also suggested that, when triggered, jealousy may lead women to “creep” their partners’ Facebook pages moreso than men, primarily because men tend to be more likely to avoid relationship-threatening information than women.2

Consistent with a previous article on SofR, I challenged the notion that there is a causal association between Facebook use and divorce; however, I did discuss the idea that Facebook may present new challenges to relationship commitment because Facebook increases the number of alternative partners we perceive to our current relationships.2 I also incorporated SofR writer Jennifer Bevan’s research which indicates that couples who use integrative communication (e.g., explaining your feelings of jealousy calmly and constructively to your partner) report more satisfaction and commitment in their relationships.3

The hosts of the show were also curious about ‘sexting’ or sending erotic photos over social media or communication technology. Although there are no nationally representative statistics on the prevalence of this behaviour, popular media suggests that sexting is common and social media has certainly changed the consequences of sharing sexual images (just think about Scarlett Johansson’s recent exposure or Weinergate).

In the end, it was worth waking up early to share the science of relationships with a wider audience...and to use the word “creeping” in a research discussion.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.

1Muise, A., Christofides, E., & Desmarais, S. (2009). More information than you ever wanted: Does Facebook bring out the green eyed monster of jealousy? CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12, 441-444.

2Simpson, J.A., Orina, M.M., & Ickes, W. (2003). When accuracy hurts, and when it helps: A test of the empathic accuracy model in marital interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 881-893.

3Rusbult, C. E., Martz, J. M., & Agnew, C. R. (1998). The investment model scale: Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Personal Relationships, 5, 357-391.

4Bevan, J. L., & Tidgewell, K. D. (2009). Relational uncertainty as a consequence of partner jealousy expression. Communication Studies, 60, 305-323.

Dr. Amy Muise - Sex Musings | Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Muise’s research focuses on sexuality, including the role of sexual motives in maintaining sexual desire in long-term relationships, and sexual well-being. She also studies the relational effects of new media, such as how technology influences dating scripts and the experience of jealousy.

image Source: www.globaltoronto.com/morning

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