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Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

Hanna Bäck


Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

What’s So Social About Social Media? Personality and Incentives as Predictors of Political Participation


  • Emma Bäck
  • Hanna Bäck
  • Holly Knapton
  • Nils Gustafsson

Summary, in English

During the last decade social media has become an increasingly common platform for political participation. However there is to date no research investigating the personality and/or incentive correlates of political participation on social media platforms. Some previous research has shown that extraversion is positively correlated to social media use (Correa et al, 2010), while other studies have failed to support this (Hughes, Rowe, Batey & Lee, 2011), indicating a more complex relation. In this paper we aim to investigate the differences in the trait extraversion in those who participate online compared to those offline. We hypothesize that introverted individuals are more likely to use social media for political purposes, than extraverted ones. In addition, given that individuals who are introverted may feel more comfortable expressing themselves online as compared to in real life, and much of the activity on social media platforms regards expressing one’s opinion (i. e. sharing political material, signing petitions), we expect a moderating effect of expressive incentives. In contrast, we expect those high on extraversion and expressive incentives to participate more in offline manifestations. Results confirm our hypotheses with those low on extraversion but high on expressive incentives more likely to use online participation, where as those high on extraversion and expressive incentives more likely to participate in offline modes of participation.


  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Strategic Communication

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper


  • Media and Communications
  • Political Science
  • Psychology


  • social media
  • social network sites
  • political psychology
  • political participation
  • personality traits

Conference name

Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), 2015

Conference date

2015-07-03 - 2015-07-06

Conference place

San Diego, United States