The results of the study call into question the benefits people seek when they engage in such pointless, possibly destructive, behavior.
Beersheva, July 24 – An extensive study that cross-referenced online habits with the frequency and intensity of horrible stories receiving media coverage has demonstrated no link between obsessive checking of the latest developments with any improvement in those developments.
No matter how many times you refresh the page of your social media or Slack screen, the study shows, you do nothing to reduce or mitigate the torrent of horror that is current events. In fact, the authors warn, compulsive checking of news sources, Twitter, Facebook, and other real-time online interfaces, exposes the user to an increased risk of greater exposure to repetition of awful news stories.
“We looked at the data, and we set up our own control group,” explained lead researcher Osi Dee, of ben Gurion University of the Negev. “The control group checked or refreshed their news feeds at their normal pace, and then the experimental group was instructed to conduct the same activities, but at 150% the frequency of the control group’s. Each participant was instructed to record the number of pieces of awful news to which their feeds exposed them.”
“We found no appreciable difference in the quantity of awfulness present in the feeds of the two groups,” he continued. “While not statistically significant, we did find subtle indications that more frequent refreshing might make the user see bad news he or she may otherwise have missed, given the volume of awful stories that are present in the news at any given time.”
The results of the study call into question the benefits people seek when they engage in such pointless, possibly destructive, behavior. “This warrants some input from, for example, evolutionary biologists, in consultation with behavioral psychologists, for example,” stated Dick Tiv, a member of the team. “The disappointing outcome of clicking again and again on the Refresh icon appeared to have no effect. Despite being shown again and again that the desired outcome – better news, or at least a smaller quantity of awful news – users kept pursuing the unreasonable, from a results standpoint, choice, and kept looking for less awful news in their feeds.”
As a follow-up the team intends to look at why, despite disastrous results, people on social media keep using Facebook and other similar applications to conduct all of their research into vaccination, politics, medical treatments, ecology, conspiracy theories, nutrition, career, parenting, dating, romance, legal issues, financial decisions, home safety, hygiene, automotive questions, travel precautions, education, and whatever the Kardashians are up to.
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