Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Charles B. Stone

Second Reader

Emily Haney-Caron

Third Advisor

Jessica Arenella

Abstract

The use of the internet and social media is ubiquitous. Research has shown that 90% of young Americans are active social media users, as well as 35% of American adults over the age of 65 (Perrin, 2015). When individuals use social media, they may selectively remember the information they post while simultaneously forgetting the information they did not post, but is related to the posted information (Anderson et al., 1994). The present study is an adaption of Anderson and colleagues’ retrieval-induced forgetting paradigm (RIF), consisting of personal and non-personal information. This study will specifically focus on the relationship between posting photos (“self” and “other”) on Instagram and how posting on Instagram can influence recognition of the photos not posted in relation to accuracy and confidence levels. Sixteen participants were recruited to post photos on Instagram over a two-day period. The photos consisted of personal photos the participants took themselves and non-personal photos the participants did not take themselves. At the end of the 6-8 day study, participants completed a recognition test which tested participants on the photos they had either taken themselves, viewed, posted, or not posted on Instagram. Results suggest higher confidence for photos that were taken by participants (“self” photos) compared to photos not taken by participants (“other” photos) regardless of posting or not posting the photo. This is inconsistent with mnemonic consequences related to the RIF paradigm. These results are discussed in terms of the importance of understanding how social media use may shape the way individuals remember their personal past.

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