Posted on Mar 13, 2022      221

How do people try to cheer themselves up with Facebook? A new study says they look for friends who are doing worse than themselves.

"Usually most of us are on social media looking for positivity," says study co-author Dr. Benjamin Johnson, associate professor at Amsterdam Free University. - But if you're feeling down, you'll look on Facebook for people who had an even worse day than you did to improve your mood.

As part of the study, researchers told 168 students first that they had passed and then that they had failed the exam (regardless of how things actually went). In this way, they improved or worsened the mood of the subjects. The students were then asked to use a fake social networking site called SocialLink.

The students were shown a variety of profile pages designed to make their owners look attractive or unattractive (showed by hearts on the profile), successful or unsuccessful (showed by a dollar sign). There was no difference in the content of the pages.

“The only difference between the pages was the career success or attractiveness scores showed by dollar signs or hearts,” Johnson said in a statement.

Study participants had to choose which pages they wanted to click on. Mostly, their decision depended on their mood.

So what did the researchers find out?

Students spent most of their time on the pages of people who were described as successful and attractive. But when the researchers compared students in bad moods and good moods, they saw that students in bad moods spent most of their time on the pages of less attractive and successful people.

“If you need to boost your self-esteem, you will look for people worse off than yourself,” says study co-author Dr. Sylvia Knobloch-Westerwick, a professor of communication at Ohio State University. According to The Atlantic magazine, this discovery is so obvious. After all, it is akin to the claim that unrequited people in love are more likely to listen to sad songs, or the claim that sentimental movies make people happier.