The Psychology of Social Networking

Expanding your social network beyond your familiar circle of friends can have surprising benefits. It's those weak ties that bring fresh ideas and unexpected opportunities: a job or an apartment or a mate. The Internet is providing new tools for cultivating and capitalizing on those networks; someone you've never met in person could change your life.

Recent Posts on Social Networking

Could a Social Network Motivate You to Exercise More?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communication have identified a new way to use social networks to motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors and exercise more.


Gossip can be entertaining. We often thirst for it and delight in its consumption. There is also a dark side, however. Please don’t go there.

Face-to-Face Social Contact Reduces Risk of Depression

Having limited face-to-face social contact can nearly double someone's risk of depression, according to a new study.

The Age of Decentralized, Distributed Knowledge

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on October 02, 2015 Jacob's Staff
For centuries, the flow of information has followed the structure of organizations. This is no longer true. What changes have resulted from the explosion in connectivity and information-sharing? How are organizations and leadership struggling to cope? How will our lives be affected? What can we learn from the resistance to innovation/change?

Why We Love to Hate Politicians

You may think politicians deserve the hate spewed at them because others seem to feel that way. It helps to know that the mammal brain bonds around common enemies. The mammal brain seeks safe ways to oppose power. The mammal brain mirrors others and relies on old pathways. Your inner mammal feels good when you hate politicians, which lures you to forget that it's hate.

Success in New Situations: Five Key Skills

Ever find yourself reluctant to meet new people and join new groups? Get better at these five fundamental newcomer skills and you’ll be more willing to put yourself out there and take advantage of life’s opportunities.

No, You Can’t Pick My Brain, But I’ll Talk to You Anyway

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Give and Take
Why you might want to take that meeting

Psychology of Deep Connection

There is a part of the brain that activates when we meet people. It’s called the "like me/not like me" part of the brain or the Rostromedial Prefrontal Cortex. However, there is another part of our brain that has a bigger impact on us — and one that explains deep connection.

No, the Dalai Lama is not a Sexist (Taming the Angernet)

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on September 28, 2015 The Pacific Heart
Social media scapegoating hit a new low a few days ago, in the attempted shaming of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A Jezebel article about the Dalai Lama went viral. Here are the facts and a response, and my own reflections on the "angernet."

Truth, Beauty, and Social Media

How do I know when someone's telling the truth? The posts make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I physically squirm. Sometimes I hold back tears. Sometimes I don’t want to push “Like.”

Can Psychology Explain How To Become A Billionaire?

Billionaires came from extreme wealth and poverty, but the majority fell somewhere in between: comfortable middle to upper class backgrounds. Many of the individuals in this study may have been granted head starts in wealth, but also in personal traits such as intelligence, energy, drive, looks, charm, discipline, and conscientiousness that all helped them accumulate...

How to Make A New, Meaningful Friendship

By Marcia Reynolds Psy.D. on September 19, 2015 Wander Woman
No matter how busy you are, you need a few solid friendships for your health and well-being. Follow these five steps to create an enriching, long-term, and fulfilling relationship.

The Perils of Left and Right Swiping

By Sean M. Horan Ph.D. on September 18, 2015 Adventures in Dating
Online dating is a common activity for many single (and married) Americans. Still, just how old is that photo in the profile you're eyeing? Is it accurate? Research summarized here answers those questions.

Does Online Dating Really Work?

By Donna Barstow on September 18, 2015 Ink Blots Cartoons
Three ways to make your dates go more smoothly, and a study that says don't worry about that 3-hour personality test at eHarmony.

Can People With Different Views Get Along? One Hopeful Case

By David Ropeik on September 17, 2015 How Risky Is It, Really?
We identify by various group labels, but the basic human social instinct to bond together in the name of comfort, safety, and survival, can trump those tribes.

To Like or Not to Like: Facebook’s Proposed New Button

Mark Zuckerberg is talking about introducing a dislike button on Facebook. The implications here are layered. First, how will Facebook users react and click? Second, how will the marketers figure out what the consumers are actually doing so they know how to adjust their ad strategies?


The “always on” lifestyle of today’s teens proffers images of happy, healthy young people propelled through endless days by a hyperkinetic force field allowing them to achieve almost anything. But lurking behind that façade may be something more sinister.

Bringing an “Empathy” button to Facebook

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on September 16, 2015 The Pacific Heart
Facebook announced that it was working on an alternative to the "Like" button. Some users clamor to "Dislike" posts, but here are some other, more pro-social options.

Who's Most Likely to Post a Video Selfie, and Why?

Selfies have gone from the occasional Facebook post of people celebrating good times to elaborate video recordings of their everyday activities. Some people even post videos of themselves surviving an emergency. Whether or not you believe the selfie is a cause, or result, of narcissism, it seems to be here to stay, especially in its most recent, video, format.

Overcoming Social Anxiety in a Social Media World

By Shimi Kang M.D. on September 14, 2015 The Dolphin Way
It’s that time of year again. Now that you are back in school, thinking about all the classes you’ve signed up for and what your schedule looks like, and feeling stressed about upcoming exams this semester, your phone vibrates. You’ve just received a Facebook notification that shows a group of your friends at a party you were not invited to. Your heart drops...

Is Online Dating a Good Way to Find Profound Love?

It is commonly agreed that online dating provides people with a larger pool of romantic candidates. However, it is not certain whether online dating is a better way to find long-term profound love than conventional offline dating is. This article suggests an answer to this question.

Why Don’t We Feel Safe?

Are you feeling anxious and isolated? You may just need more human contact.

What Did You Learn In School Today?

By Russ Gerber on September 11, 2015 Our Health
Today is loaded with potential for meeting valuable people and learning good lessons.

Social Media and Healing of Memories

By Thelma Duffey Ph.D. on September 09, 2015 Works in Progress
When an unexpected name comes back from the past, it can throw us for a loop.

What We've Got Wrong With the K-State Marching Band Story

The Kansas State University marching band director is in hot water following this weekend’s halftime performance. However, this 3-second segment is taken out of context. With the drill in motion, the announcement, and the music it all makes sense. So who are the real losers in this story?

Loving What You Hate and Hating What You Love

By Lynne Soraya on September 07, 2015 Asperger's Diary
For an autistic person, pain can be disturbingly difficult to distinguish from pleasure.

Fight Song and Hero: Pop Anthems of Lonely Resilience

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D., LMFT on September 06, 2015 Intersections
Popular songs about resilience suggest that people should tough it out on their own, alone.

5 Lessons I Learned From Trying Paddleboard Yoga

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on September 06, 2015 Urban Survival
Getting bored of your usual yoga routine? Try paddleboard yoga and get over the fear of falling.

You Naturally Choose Your Friends With This Pattern

Benford's Law says that numbers in natural systems start with a 1 far more often than they start with a 9. A new study shows this applies to friend counts in social networks - and to friend counts in your own social circle, too.

Could Your Twitter Use Reveal a Secret to Happiness?

Those who score high on happiness, have happier immediate neighbors in terms of Twitter interaction, than those who are two or three links away, whose good cheer declines the further away from a very happy person they are. Large sources of happiness on Twitter, also seemed to have more interactions with extended networks.