A new study says gamblers are more reckless with their wagers if they’ve recently spent time on social networking behemoth Facebook.
Dr. Eugene Chan of the University of Technology, Sydney recently published a new study in the Computers in Human Behavior journal that says Facebook users should impose at least one hour’s delay between checking their profile and gambling. Chan says the one-hour rule applies not just to online gambling but to brick-and-mortar gambling venues and other forms of risk-based monetary activity, including investing in the stock market.
Chan told the Herald Sun that Facebook users tend to view their network of social friends as a “cushion” against financial loss. Chen theorized that Facebook visits gave users a subconscious imprinting of a network of friends who might bail them out if an investment goes sour.
This effect was only noticed in people who’d recently spent time viewing their online social circle, meaning Facebook users who hadn’t checked their profile in a while failed to display the same elevated risk tolerance. According to Chan, “it is the act of interacting with one’s online friends on Facebook that activated the financial cushion.” Chan’s research focused solely on Facebook, but he believes similar effects are likely from other social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.
If Chan’s name sounds familiar, he recently revealed that heterosexual men tend to take greater financial risks when presented with images of better looking men. The theory was that men who felt they couldn’t compete on a physical level would overcompensate by acting like Daddy Warbucks.
Chan said his Facebook research could lead to governments imposing rules on people’s ability to shift directly from Facebook to online gambling or investing sites, although policing this behavior would prove technically challenging and even more sketchy from a personal privacy standpoint.