Self-Disclosure or Small Talk? Unpacking the Social Explore-Exploit Tradeoff in an Online Chat Room

Barrentine, Kyle, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Barrentine, Kyle, AS-Psychology (PSYC), University of Virginia

Reframing social decisions in terms of exploration and exploitation – the pursuit of novel ties or familiar connections, respectively–is a promising new avenue of research and theory within social psychology. The current work, through a pilot study (n = 170) and a follow-up (n = 100), used group-level manipulations to alter the pursuit of social exploration and exploitation through an online chat room. Participants engaged in 1-on-1 conversations in a Facebook Messenger type chat room with up to 9 other participants for 30 minutes. In the Pilot study, we asked participants to focus on the quality or quantity of connections made to examine how exploration and exploitation influence networking strategies. Network density significantly differed between conditions (t = -9.57, p

MA (Master of Arts)
self-disclosure, small talk, group-dynamics, social networks, chat room
Sponsoring Agency:
The International Psychological Honor Society
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