Psychol Rep. 2018 Sep 6:33294118798624. doi: 10.1177/0033294118798624.
The use of Facebook and other social media sites has increased to the point that some consider it to be a behavioral addiction. Previously, research has used the Approach-Avoidance Task to measure implicit approach and withdrawal tendencies in response to a variety of stimuli, including alcohol, desserts, cigarettes, spiders, and cannabis. When responding to these types of stimuli, individuals typically evidence an approach bias toward appetitive images and a withdrawal bias in response to undesirable and/or fearful stimuli. The present study was designed to test the validity of an adapted version of the Approach-Avoidance Task by investigating how self-reported Facebook addiction tendencies, measured via the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, predicted automatic approach tendencies toward Facebook-related stimuli using the Facebook-Approach-Avoidance Task. Participants with higher self-reported tendencies of Facebook addiction tended to approach Facebook-related stimuli faster. The present study is the first to indicate a relationship between self-reported Facebook addiction tendencies and implicit approach motivation using a behavioral measure. This finding provides initial support for the use of the Facebook-Approach-Avoidance Task as a measure of Facebook addiction, and further validation could lead to the development of additional assessment and training paradigms in the future.
KEYWORDS: Approach; Facebook; addiction; avoidance; social networking