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Self-Curated Temptation: Attention to Alternatives in the Age of Social Media

Ingram, Samuel (2020) Self-Curated Temptation: Attention to Alternatives in the Age of Social Media. Masters thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

It has been debated that some people, such as those who are higher in relationship commitment, are better equipped to ignore the temptations of alternatives to their romantic partner. However, the majority of the research on this topic has focused on self-reported recall of relationship alternatives or responses to stimuli curated by others. Recent technological advances and social media present new opportunities to be exposed to tempting alternatives, as well as curate tempting online networks. Two studies tested whether differences in relationship commitment predicted whether people curate relatively more or less tempting social media content. Consistent with prior research, study 1 (N=244) found people higher in relationship commitment reported following fewer attractive alternatives on Instagram. However, people relatively high and low in commitment did not differ in the actual proportion of attractive alternatives they followed on Instagram, as coded by the researchers. Furthermore, Study 2 (N=306) showed that although people who were more committed to their relationship derogated alternatives more following relationship reminders (i.e., a mating prime), they did not pay less attention to or follow fewer new Instagram accounts than people who were less committed. Likewise, people relatively high and low in commitment did not differ across any measure in the condition without relationship reminders (i.e., control condition). Overall, these findings suggest commitment plays a role in attention to alternatives on social media when people are asked to report on their behaviors, but it does not significantly impact people’s actual behaviors on Instagram. There may be some form of cognitive protection when it comes to self-reporting about interest in alternatives, but actual social media behaviors are not allotted the same protection and can vary regardless of commitment level.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Samuel Ingram
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2020 13:59
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2020 13:59
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27282

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