Social Media, Texting, and Personality: A Test of the Shallowing Hypothesis

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Description: The “shallowing hypothesis” suggests that recent media technologies have led to a dramatic decline in ordinary daily reflective thought. According to this hypothesis, certain types of social media (e.g., texting and Facebook) promote rapid, shallow thought that can result in cognitive and moral “shallowness” if used too frequently. Participants completed an online questionnaire comprised of five measures that assessed their social media and texting behaviour, use of reflective thought, life goals, personality dimensions, and demographic characteristics. Correlates of both texting frequency and social media usage were consistent with the shallowing hypothesis and previous literature; participants who frequently texted or used social media were less likely to engage in reflective thought and placed less importance on moral life goals.

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