Description: Users in social networking sites, such as Facebook, are increasingly receiving friend requests from strangers and accepting strangers as friends. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the Big Five personality traits and strangers' gender in affecting Facebook users' decisions to accept the stranger's friend request by adopting a 2 (gender of the stranger: male vs. female) x 5 (stranger's personality: Neuroticism vs. Extraversion vs. Openness vs. Conscientiousness vs. Agreeableness) factorial design. Results revealed that participants were more likely to accept the stranger's friend request when the participant's and stranger's personalities matched. This effect was more pronounced when the stranger was a female. Participants accepted female stranger's friend request due to the inflated perception of stereotypical female characteristics, which supported the hyperpersonal effect. Majority of the participants accepted the stranger's friend request based on textual cues that were displayed in the friend request message, which supported social information processing theory, suggesting that impression formation of the stranger was not constrained to the lack of nonverbal cues setting.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Leow, Serena