Understanding the Link Between Everyday Cognitive Failures and Online Behavior
In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become an integral part of our lives. From connecting with friends and family to staying updated on current events, these platforms offer a myriad of benefits. However, recent research has raised concerns about the potential negative impact of excessive social media use on cognitive functioning. A new study conducted by researchers at Humboldt University in Berlin delves into the relationships between cognitive failures, the fear of missing out (FoMO), and social networking site use disorder (SNUD). The findings shed light on the intricate connections between these variables and provide valuable insights into the psychological effects of social media use.
Data Cleaning and Participant Demographics
The study recruited a total of 5,530 participants through an online website, with a focus on investigating the relationships between cognitive failures, FoMO, and SNUD tendencies. After excluding individuals who identified as a third gender and those with insufficient variance in their questionnaire responses, the final sample consisted of 5,314 participants. The participants, ranging in age from 18 to 94 years, completed questionnaires assessing their levels of cognitive failures, FoMO, and SNUD tendencies. It is important to note that the study was conducted in the German language, and participants’ proficiency in German was not assessed.
Cognitive Failure Questionnaire
Participants first completed the Cognitive Failure Questionnaire (CFQ), which assessed the frequency of cognitive failures experienced in the past six months. The CFQ consisted of 32 items, and participants rated the occurrence of these failures on a scale ranging from 0 (never) to 4 (very often). The questionnaire demonstrated excellent internal consistency, with higher scores indicating a greater tendency for cognitive failures.
Fear of Missing Out Scale
Next, participants filled in Wegmann’s Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) scale, which measured both trait and state aspects of FoMO. The scale comprised twelve items, with five assessing trait FoMO and seven examining state FoMO. Participants rated their agreement with these items on a five-point Likert scale. The internal consistencies for both trait and state FoMO were good, with higher scores indicating a greater presence of FoMO.
Social Networking Sites-Addiction Test
Finally, participants completed the Social Networking Sites-Addiction Test (SNS-AT), a modified version of the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) and Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS). The SNS-AT focused on general social media overuse and consisted of six items. Participants rated their agreement with these items on a five-point Likert scale. The internal consistency of the SNS-AT was excellent, with higher scores indicating a greater tendency toward SNUD. Participants were also asked whether they used social media or not.
The data were analyzed using MATLAB for data cleaning and visualization and the Jamovi package for statistical analyses. Participants were categorized into three groups based on their social media usage patterns: active social media users, non-users without SNUD tendencies, and non-users with SNUD tendencies. Descriptive statistics were calculated for FoMO, SNUD tendencies, and cognitive failure in these three groups. A MANOVA was conducted to compare the groups, with gender and age as covariates.
To explore the potential mediation of the relationship between FoMO and cognitive failure via SNUD tendencies, linear correlation analyses were performed to examine the pairwise relationships between the variables. Mediation models were then constructed using Jamovi’s advanced mediation model module, with FoMO as the predictor, SNUD tendencies as the mediating variable, and cognitive failure as the outcome variable. Separate models were created for state and trait FoMO.
The study offers valuable insights into the complex relationships between cognitive failures, FoMO, and SNUD tendencies. The findings highlight the potential impact of excessive social media use on cognitive functioning and suggest that SNUD tendencies may mediate the relationship between FoMO and cognitive failures. These results contribute to our understanding of the psychological effects of social media use and emphasize the need for further research in this field. As social media continues to shape our lives, it is crucial to explore the potential consequences and develop strategies for maintaining a healthy balance in our online interactions.