Decoded – What makes you a social networking addict


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Ever wondered what makes you use social media so much? Blame the interaction of your personality traits, as researchers have found that it can impact the likelihood of developing an addiction to social networking.

The study findings suggested that personality traits in particular -- neuroticism, conscientiousness and agreeableness -- were related to social network addiction.

"There has been plenty of research on how the interaction of certain personality traits affects addiction to things like alcohol and drugs," said co-author Isaac Vaghefi, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Binghamton University-State University of New York.

For the study, presented at the 51st Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science, researchers collected self-reported data from nearly 300 college-aged students.

The researchers found that these three personality traits -- neuroticism, conscientiousness and agreeableness -- are part of the five-factor personality model, a well-established framework used to theoretically understand the human personality.

They also found that the two other traits in the model -- extraversion and openness to experience -- did not play much of a role in the likelihood of developing a social network addiction.

According to the researchers, neuroticism -- the extent to which people experience negative emotions such as stress and anxiety -- seemed to increase the likelihood of developing an addiction to social network sites.

On the other hand, higher amounts of conscientiousness -- having impulse control and the drive to achieve specific goals -- seemed to decrease the likelihood of developing a social network addiction.

But when tested together, they found that neuroticism seemed to moderate the effect of conscientiousness as it relates to social network addiction.

Agreeableness -- the degree to which someone is friendly, empathetic and helpful -- alone didn't have a significant effect on social network addiction until it is combined with conscientiousness, the researchers noted.

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