Correction: Facebook Does Not Make You Stupid

We blogged a while back about some research suggesting Facebook use was correlated with low grades. Well, one Facebook-using professor named Eszter Hargittai thought the data looked fishy. So did Josh Pasek, a graduate student who got in touch with Hargittai — through Facebook, of course — and asked if she’d like to work on a paper with him challenging the earlier findings. Their paper, written with Eian More, has just been published. Analyzing a larger sample size than the original study did, the authors found no correlation at all between Facebook use and G.P.A. In defense of her work, the original study’s author, Aryn C. Karpinski, told the Chronicle of Higher Education: “I completely acknowledge the limitations of my research. What I found is so exploratory — people need to chill out.” [%comments]

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  1. Julie333w says:

    I love it when researchers use technical jargon like “chill out” to defend their work.

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  2. Andrew says:

    OK so technically Facebook may not make you stupid. But after a while of reading that your “friends” just made a salad or what rock star or 80′s icon they are most like, or how many points they have in Mafia Wars, you can feel brain cells dying from the creeping banality.

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  3. Liz D says:

    I’m just really tired of baby-boomers claiming that new technology and trends are somehow ruining our youth or society.

    Everyone just needs to stop worrying about facebook and cell phones and TV and video games and all that. Kids are both as smart and as stupid as they ever were.

    It’s the future, get used to it.

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  4. JonA says:

    The original study author is right. The results weren’t her fault, the poor reporting is thanks to the media that is unable to report accurately on scientific studies.

    But science moves on, replication and refinement of experiments win! But I doubt these results will grab any media headlines, so the public’s state of being misinformed will be sustained. Media = poor at reporting science.

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  5. Brent says:

    #2 said everything that needs to be said. No one else should comment

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  6. sunny says:

    I agree with JonA, just the title of this article is misleading. Correlation is not ncessarily causality.

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  7. EP says:

    Next time I get a bad review back from a journal, I’m going to tell the reviewers that they need to ‘chill out.’

    Seriously though, hypotheses are made to be disproven. That’s science.

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  8. Eric H says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that either study would only show correlation, and not causation? I know it seems like just a matter of how you frame the issue, but it has big implications.

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