Facebook’s Dark Side Topic of Study by WIU Communication Professor

Chris Carpenter, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication

Chris Carpenter, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication

From University Relations:
When Darth Vader was introduced as the dark side of the Force in the first installment of the original trilogy, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977), Christopher Carpenter, the 30-year old assistant professor of communication at Western Illinois University, was not yet born.

Now, Carpenter is getting worldwide news coverage for his study of the “dark side,” but on the timely subject of Facebook.

Carpenter’s study, “Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and Anti-social Behavior,” is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 52, issue 4 (March 2012), p. 482-486, as well as on numerous other websites.

Narcissism is defined in this study as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance,” Carpenter said.

For the average narcissist, Facebook “offers a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication.” More importantly, for this study, social networking in general allows the user a great deal of control over how he or she is presented to and perceived by peers and other users, he added.

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