Could spending just a few minutes gazing lovingly at your own Facebook profile make you feel better about yourself, but in turn make you a little bit worse at performing a task afterward?
That's what findings from a University of Wisconsin-Madison study suggest. Researchers had 159 students either browse their own profiles or a stranger's profile, then used physchogical testing to determine the effect on their self-esteem.
The test, called the Implicit Association Test, asks participants to associate positive and negative adjectives with words like "I," "me," and "myself."
"Our culture places great value on having high self-esteem. For this reason, people typically inflate their level of self-esteem in self-report questionnaires," researcher Catalina Toma told the University of Wisconsin-Madison News. "The Implicit Association Test removes this bias."
What they found was higher self-esteem measurements in those who looked at their own profiles.
But wait a minute - there could be a downside.
Researchers also had the participants take a basic cognitive test that had them count down from 1,978 in intervals of 7.
And guess what - those high on themselves performed worse. On average, they were about 15% slower at the task.
"Results show that a brief exposure to one's own profile raised state self-esteem, but that it hampered performance in a subsequent cognitive task by decreasing the motivation to perform well," the researchers concluded.
Basically, you're so high on yourself that you become complacent.
"Boy, do I look fabulous in that profile pic. And 37 people like it! No need for simple math."[Feeling Better But Doing Worse: Effects of Facebook Self-Presentation on Implicit Self-Esteem and Cognitive Task Performance via The Atlantic]