Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category
You’ve likely run across the statistics on Facebook being the cause of many divorces or relationship failures as unhappy individuals reunite with past loves lost. There is also of course, often heartbreak as online loves turn out to be not quite who you thought. Now Facebook is also implicated in prolonging the unhappiness after a relationship breakup with 88% (!) of Facebook users “creeping” ex-partners. Imagine a darkened room, a pint of ice cream, a laptop with a high-speed connection, and you are never far away from seeing what your ex is up to now that you are no longer part of his or her everyday life.
Researchers in Canada asked 107 participants (ranging in age from 18 to 35 years with an average age of 23 years) who reported relationship breakups in the past 12 months to complete questionnaires and participate in a structured face-to-face interview on the relationship between Facebook ‘creeping’ and their ongoing distress following relationship breakup. On average, these participants reported their (now defunct) relationship had lasted 2.29 years (with about half having broken up in the past six months and the other half having broken up 7-12 months prior to the study).
In brief, here is what the researchers found:
The more “creeping” (also referred to as “internet electronic surveillance”) one does, the more emotional upset is reported related to the breakup.
The most commonly distressing factor was the ex-partner’s Facebook profile and 88% of the participants reported “creeping” their ex following a breakup. When the participant had remained Facebook friends with their ex, 100% monitored the behavior of the ex after the breakup.
“A breakup without Facebook, you can’t really see what your ex is doing, but with Facebook you just have to click and you know exactly what they’ve been up to. That’s a little frustrating.”
The second distressing factor was the Facebook “relationship status” feature. Changing the relationship status to “single” after “in a relationship” involved multiple questions from “friends” (for 62% of the participants) which raised distress level.
“In some weird way, it kind of feels like you’re breaking up all over again when the status comes down. It angered me at the time that something as trivial as a Facebook status could make me feel so shitty.”
The third distressing area was content posted on Facebook by the participant’s ex-partner which was then seen in the participant’s newsfeed. Participants seeing new content found themselves ruminating over happy memories and wondering why the relationship had ended. Unexpectedly, those who “unfriended” their ex on Facebook had more emotional distress than those who kept the ex as a Facebook friend. For some, like the participant quoted below, “unfriending” helped manage the emotional distress but that was untrue for the majority of participants.
“I would say pull off the Band-Aid as quickly as possible and block the person if you’re finding it as painful as I did to see their continuing existence in your sphere. You’ll immediately feel better, or at least I did.”
It’s an intriguing study that highlights the differences in breaking up in public as opposed to having a private (non-Facebook) breakup. While it is easier to keep up with family and friends on Facebook—it is also more painful post-breakup since your “relationship status” trumpets your pain to all your Facebook friends. The more “creeping” done, the more emotional distress experienced.
The authors also developed a new scale to measure Facebook distress related to creeping an ex after a breakup. The scale does not appear to be named yet but here are a few items from it:
I over-analyze old messages, wall posts or photographs of me and my ex together.
I can’t help feeling angry about content my ex posts on Facebook.
I feel paranoid that people posting on my ex’s wall are potential romantic interests.
Looking at my ex’s Facebook page is self-destructive.
From a litigation advocacy perspective, it seems important to recognize the power of a relationship breakup disclosed through social media, and the identification young people in particular could have with a party publicly shamed, belittled, discarded, or otherwise rejected. In this case, social media (i.e., Facebook involvement) makes the emotional pain last longer and be more intense and it is likely that shame feeds the flame of that sense of public rejection or perceived failure. Every time a Facebook post is re-mentioned (like, for months on end following a breakup when yet another person comments about it after not checking their timeline in a while) it can be traumatizing. If someone feels that they were wrongfully terminated (or are just embarrassed about it) and they get questions about the change in their LinkedIn status from “District Manager at Acme Industries” to something less clear, it can be very difficult for them to explain. That which was once self-promotion can quickly blow up. It’s a potentially powerful theme for case narrative. And it raises questions about how a company might want to guide the use employees make of social media when it involves references to employment status.
Lukacs, V., & Quan-Haase, A. (2015). Romantic breakups on Facebook: new scales for studying post-breakup behaviors, digital distress, and surveillance Information, Communication & Society, 18 (5), 492-508 DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1008540
We’ve done a lot of literature review on generations and written papers summarized here and published in The Jury Expert. And it’s time for a new paper! Recently, we were asked to do some work on sorting out if (and how) the generations respond differently to fact patterns in litigation, And, as part of preparing for that research, we took a look at research published since we last wrote a literature review on generations at work. The article described here is the result of that pre-project preparation.
As we prepared for the mock trial research with mock jurors of varying generations, our client said, “50 year old GenXers?”.It’s hard to believe GenXers are really that old, but do the math—time has continued its inexorable march. Do that math a few more times and you will see the oldest Millennials are in their early thirties and the oldest Boomers are turning 70! It is easy to lose track of the passage of time and many of us tend to retain our outdated impressions of younger generations frozen in time. But they are growing older (just like we are) and changing as they mature. It’s imperative that we all keep our internal stereotypes up-to-date with reality in order to not be left behind with an outdated vision of who will come to interviews or even serve on our juries.
We wrote this paper for law firms trying to sort out management of the multigenerational workplace. There is fascinating research being done in this area and much of it can be translated into clear and behavioral steps to be taught to your managers and employees in general. This article discusses some recently found “real differences” between the three generations in the workplace (i.e., Boomer, GenXer, Millennial) identified in large sample size and global studies of individuals. If you enjoy learning about the latest research on generations and want to know more about making your workplace function more efficiently and respectfully—we hope you’ll read our latest article Loyalty, Longevity and Leadership in The Jury Expert.
We just posted on reflective versus non-reflective thinkers and this is the scale with which researchers identified who was reflective (initial intuition tempered by analysis) and who was not reflective (unquestioning reliance on intuition). And this is the three-item scale they used to group participants. Yes. That is not a typo. Three questions. You will likely recognize them when you see them and groan in frustration that this seems to be a math-based IQ test rather than a test of reflective or non-reflective thinking. You likely will not, however, recognize the questions as coming from the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT).
A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? ______ cents
If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _____ minutes
In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half the lake? _____ days*
The trick is that these questions often generate an intuitive, impulsive, and (unfortunately) incorrect response. Those who question or double-check their math, or generally rely on reasoning skills in their daily lives (and therefore answer correctly), are classified as reflective thinkers. Those who simply blurt out the intuitive and incorrect answer are classified as non-reflective thinkers. (If, for example, your answers to the above three questions are 10, 100 and 24—you are a non-reflective thinker. And math is likely not your strong suit.) Once the answers are explained, they are easily understandable but the initial impulsive response seems right until you realize (or are shown) that it is wrong.
The author defines cognitive reflection as having “the ability or disposition to resist reporting the response that first comes to mind”. Some believe the CRT offers a quick assessment of overall intelligence but the author says those scoring high and those scoring low on the CRT make different choices. But the question might better be asked “is the difference seen in the choice made, or the process used to arrive at the choice?”.
Men score significantly higher on the CRT than do women and the author says that may reflect men’s greater mathematical interest or ability. Lest you feel shamed by your performance on this test, this article reports that of 3,428 people participating in the research, 33 percent missed all three questions. Most people–83 percent–missed at least one of the questions.Even very educated people made mistakes. Only 48 percent of MIT students sampled were able to answer all the questions correctly.
From a litigation advocacy perspective, this is a quick way to assess the overall tendency to think or blurt and if that is useful in your case—you may want to consider using the CRT to identify one or the other (i.e., the thinker or the blurter). When you are looking for an edge—this sort of quick and dirty assessment of intellectual function (or analytical thinking or cognitive reflection or need for cognition or whatever it measures) may be a good tool to try. It would be worthwhile to determine whether a straightforward query about their problem-solving strategy (such as, “Do you enjoy solving puzzles, or do you find them frustrating?) Just make sure you really do know who responds better to your case—the thinker or the blurter.
Frederick, S. (2005). Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19 (4), 25-42 DOI: 10.1257/089533005775196732. You can access this article free here: http://cbdr.cmu.edu/seminar/Frederick.pdf.
*Just so you do not think us unreasonably cruel, the correct answers to the CRT questions are: 5 cents; 5 minutes; and 47 days.
The smartphone has changed our lives. Just last fall, we wrote about the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Scale. As a reminder, that post was about how smartphones allow us to obsessively check our email and social media sites to see what our friends and followers and family members are doing— out of a fear of the grave danger that we are missing out on something somehow. Now, the smartphone has inspired yet another concept and another yardstick to measure it, as academicians struggle to find novel paths to tenure. This scale isn’t about obsessively checking your phone—it’s about how you feel when the phone is not available to you. Nomophobia is considered “a 21st century disorder resulting from new technologies” and even has an entry in the Urban Dictionary which is suitably brief so as to more succinctly illustrate the horror that is nomophobia:
Fear of being away from a mobile phone.
“That guy has serious nomophobia.”
Technically, nomophobia refers a fear of being unable to communicate via a mobile phone or via the internet. It is seen as a “situational phobia” and obviously, a phobia this severe demands a scale to measure our level of nomophobia (which stands for No Mobile Phone Phobia). Researchers in Iowa wanted to measure reactions to being without use of a smartphone and so, set out to create a scale to measure our fear of being without our smartphones. Does not having your phone create anxiety? Are you in a full-blown panic at being off the grid, even for a little while? Researchers interviewed 300 undergraduates who “heavily depended on their smart phones” and ultimately devised a 20-item scale to measure nomophobia. [As an admittedly cynical aside, we would like them to find a sample of 300 undergrads who are not “heavily dependent on their smart phones”. A far more challenging research project.] They validated the questionnaire on a small group of students to ensure the scale produced reliable scores and then they administered the scale to the sample of 300 undergraduates to perform exploratory factor analysis.
Here are a few of the 20 items on the NMP-Q scale:
If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.
If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
If I did not have my smartphone with me, I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
If I did not have my smartphone with me, I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.
If I did not have my smartphone with me, I would be anxious because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
The authors identify four separate factors that emerged in their analysis. When participants were without their cell phones, these concerns arose: not being able to communicate instantly with others, losing connectedness with others, not being able to access information, and giving up convenience of having a smartphone to use if one chose to do so. While many of us would undoubtedly worry about being stranded someplace without a smartphone—many of the items on the scale refer to losing a sense of connection to your social media identity/persona. Like the fear of missing out, nomophobia is likely more pronounced among the young.
From an outside perspective, there is nothing terribly surprising about the research. If you are accustomed to wearing a wristwatch every day and it is the only timepiece you have available, you will be uncomfortable if you are without it. You will worry about being late. You will wonder whether there will be problems associated with your not knowing what time it is frequently. We get accustomed to tools we use frequently, and we don’t like them to be suddenly unavailable to us.
From a litigation advocacy perspective, this study (again) speaks to the power of court admonitions to not use smartphones or social media during jury service. The smartphone is ubiquitous these days and increasingly, current studies are showing us that being unable to use one’s smartphone is a bitter pill for some to swallow. Last fall, we summed up the Fear of Missing Out Scale (FOMO) post this way:
Heavy social media users are likely to be more distracted, have a shorter attention span, more likely to reflexively use social media during trial, and want to get jury duty over ASAP so they can get back to tracking what really matters. You probably already knew that but with this new information you can impress everyone you know by saying, “This juror is going to be trouble for us since s/he has a high FoMO”. Thank goodness for academic research on scale development.
Now you can say, “this juror is very nomophobic” and consider if you want that level of angst in the jury room.
Yildirim, C., & Correia, A. (2015). Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 130-137 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.059
This is not a scale to help you determine if your fruits and vegetables are dirty. This is for a different kind of dirt commonly referred to as the dark triad. Psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism make up the dark triad of personality traits and they are traits we all want to identify at different points in time. You might think of the dark triad as ubiquitous in the truly “bad boy” to whom many are drawn (for brief periods).
This research scale is short (only 12-items) and it is quickly gaining popularity among researchers for ease of use and accuracy in assessment of the traits. The authors of the Dirty Dozen [scale items] Scale wanted to reduce the requirement of using 90 items across three different scales to measure the dark triad and so designed this measure. We’ll just tell you it is psychometrically valid and reliable rather than going into explanations of how the scale was designed across multiple studies.
We first became aware of this scale when reading about it in the study of narcissism and first person pronouns. It’s a great name for a scale and hence, we wanted to share it with you here.
These are a few sample questions from this 12-item scale (although the full-scale has also been published on Facebook—complete with scoring information).
I tend to manipulate others to get my way.
I tend to be unconcerned with the morality of my actions.
I tend to seek prestige or status.
I tend to expect special favors from others.
The remaining questions are equally brief and plain language. The author’s comment that, in addition to being correlated with longer measures of the dark triad, scores on the Dirty Dozen Scale tend to show “a consistent pattern of disagreeableness, aggression, and short-term mating.
It’s a nice, face-valid (i.e., it looks like it measures what it is supposed to measure) scale that is brief enough to use in research while also accurate in assessing the presence of narcissistic traits that make up the dark triad. What is amazing—and perhaps adds face validity to the scale—is that people who are low on this scale also are the kind of folk who would consider saying “yes” to these items to indicate very bad character. Those who earn high scores on it? The questions are equally obvious to them, but they don’t mind owning those “yes” answers! A quick review of the Facebook page posting the entire scale shows commenters expressing awe at the scale’s proficiency in describing their “ex”. While we don’t really recommend you do that, it is an interesting scale for consideration in a wide variety of contexts.
Jonason PK, & Webster GD (2010). The dirty dozen: a concise measure of the dark triad. Psychological Assessment, 22 (2), 420-32 PMID: 20528068