Title: Does Context Matter in Social Media Communication?
Abstract: The messenger matters: the individual who communicates a piece of information may evoke feelings of trust, liking or authority that will sway how others perceive that information (Dolan et al. 2012). For example, advertisements often feature doctors or celebrity endorsements because these are seen as credible advisors intheir respective areas of expertise. Does a similar effect exist in social media channels? Facebook, Instagram and others are used everyday by millions of people - could it be that there is a “messenger effect” amongst these networks and a multitude of online communications are perceived not only based on the content but also the contextual cues coming from the social media platforms?
Yes, this research find multiple examples of “messenger effects”: an online interaction or a piece of shared content may be congruent with the perceived persona of one social network but not another. LinkedIn evokes statistically significant lower feelings of connectedness across requests to connect with others, sending text messages and “likes”. Study participants also rated LinkedIn lower in terms of the likelihood to remain in touch with the hypothetical contact inthe study. On the other hand, Facebook and Instagram produced higher feelings of connectedness when it came to receiving picture messages, possibly because they are perceived as more visual platforms. All these effects were valid controlling for demographic data including gender, age, education and employment.
The method used to determine these findings was an online experiment that randomized the social media channel while keeping the social interactions and content constant. After being allocated to one of the social networks, study participants were shown mock-ups screenshots that looked like real images of that channel and were asked about their feelings of connectedness following the interactions. The dissertation used an ordered probit analysis in Stata to tease out the effects and control for demographics.
Title: Can indoor plants harm you? A randomised controlled trial of an indoor plant on cognitive performance.
Abstract: Objective. This study investigated the effect of an indoor plant on computer-based cognitive tasks (two logical reasoning, a divergent creativity and a convergent creativity task).
Method. A between-subjects randomised controlled trial (indoor plant vs. no plant) was used for 241 participants at the LSE Behavioural Research Lab. Interactions between the treatment condition and gender were examined.
Results. Contrary to expectations, the indoor plant produced no improvement across any of the cognitive tasks. To the contrary, female participants with an indoor plant in the computer cubicle performed worse on the divergent creativity test.
Conclusion. This study adds to the body of growing literature on biophilic effects. The results of this study casts doubt on the application of indoor plants. Further studies are required to increase the depth and robustness of research in this area and to delineate effective interventions.