Facebook users who interact with large numbers of online friends may feel better about themselves, but this ego boost also has an ‘unintended psychological consequence’, as users relax their self-control which makes them more prone to impulse purchases and overindulgence in junk food that they know is bad for them.
“Simply browsing Facebook makes people feel better about themselves and momentarily enhances their self-esteem,” the Daily Mail quoted Keith Wilcox, an associate professor at Columbia University, as telling Today.com.
“It’s that enhanced self-esteem that ultimately lowers your self-control,” he said.
The loss of self-control, the report suggests, can result in self-indulgence.
When you feel good, you can rationalize ordering dessert or buying something you don’t really need. “I feel good today,” you tell yourself. “I deserve a treat.”
More than 500 US Facebook users took part in the survey.
They were quizzed about online habits, their financial situation and how often they engaged in binge eating.
The results found that Facebook users with strong social ties typically had a higher body-mass index (BMI), were more prone to binge eating, carried more credit card debt and had lower credit scores.
The report will be published in the Journal of Consumer Research and is already available online at the Social Science Research Network.