Motivation and popular culture content influence Facebook viewing strategies and impression formation

Joanne Ingram, Graham G Scott, Christopher J Hand, Megan Wightman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Patterns of visual information processing on social media, specifically Facebook timelines, has been shown to be influenced by observers’ motivation for viewing (social or professional). Furthermore, cultural variables have been shown to influence information processing in person-perception. This study examined viewing patterns for Facebook timelines when popular culture references were co-varied with motivation. The relationship between eye movements and parasocial interaction with popular culture characters was also assessed. Participants viewed four simulated Facebook timelines whilst having their eye movements recorded. Half of the timelines included banner pictures depicting scenes from the popular film series Harry Potter, and half included neutral banner pictures. After viewing each timeline, participants indicated how likely they were to form a friendship with the profile owner (social motivation) or how likely they would be to employ the person (professional motivation); participants also completed a parasocial interaction questionnaire. Participants spent more time fixating on Harry Potter banners than neutral banners. Participants were more likely to be friends with, and employ, profile owners with Harry Potter banner pictures. Time spent focussing on the Harry Potter banners was related to parasocial interaction scores. How and why references to popular culture may benefit impression formation on social media are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2019
EventExperimental Psychology Society Meeting - Online
Duration: 10 Jul 201912 Jul 2019


ConferenceExperimental Psychology Society Meeting
Internet address


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