Looking at One's Self Through Facebook Increases Mental Stress: A Computational Psychometric Analysis by Using Eye-Tracking and Psychophysiology

Pietro Cipresso, Maurizio Mauri, Michelle Semonella, Cosimo Tuena, Anna Balgera, Marco Villamira, Giuseppe Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to investigate if Mental Stress was superior, inferior, or equal navigating on Facebook own profile or others profiles. An experimental manipulation would invalidate the results since it would force the participants to navigate in only one condition each time. To overcome this problem, we used an eye-tracker to get clear time markers that identified the areas where the participants focused during all of the Facebook navigation. While the gazes were being recorded for 30 participants, we simultaneously recorded their psychophysiological signals, which were extracted and paired with each specific focus area. Consequently, we obtained the psychophysiological correlates of Facebook navigation for both the conditions related to "own" and "others." The areas related to own were about the own profile (such as exploring and focusing on one's own information, posting one's own news, and similar activities). The areas related to others were about Facebook friends (e.g., exploring others' profiles and reading comments). The results showed that, based on cardiovascular measures (strong measurements of psychological stress), looking at one's own profile increased mental stress level. Bayesian analyses showed that these differences between the two conditions were not due to the cognitive load or the different attentional and emotional content in the two conditions. The study posed new questions about the expression of one's self to others, and indicated potential detrimental effects of chronic stress deriving from being more oriented to the self than the others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-314
Number of pages8
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Facebook
  • computational psychometrics
  • eye-tracking
  • mental stress
  • psychological stress
  • psychometrics
  • psychophysiology
  • social identity
  • social network sites


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