Two recent studies have revealed amazing facts about how Facebook affects its users. The first study, carried out by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has shown that being envious of Facebook friends can cause depression and that looking through the site to compare achievements with those of friends can have a very detrimental effect on a person`s mental health. Margaret Duffy explains, "Facebook can be a fun and healthy activity if users take advantage of the site to stay connected with family and old friends and to share interesting and important aspects of their lives. However, using it to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship can lead to feelings of depression."
Duffy and a colleague based in Singapore surveyed 700 students for the paper, published in the journal ‘Computers in Human Behaviour’. She went on to say, "Facebook can be a very positive resource for many people, but if it is used as a way to compare your own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect. It is important for Facebook users to be aware of these risks so they can avoid this kind of behaviour when using Facebook."
A second study, completely independent from the first, has shown that a computer can be better at assessing someone’s basic personality than close friends or family. A study of more than 86,000 users of Facebook has demonstrated the power of intelligent machines to predict an individual’s character based on what they have listed as their “Likes.”
Researchers said that the day when computers are able to judge a person’s personality accurately has almost arrived and even suggested that science fiction films like “Her”, based on a man’s emotional attachment to an intelligent computer, are closer than we think. In the future, computers could be able to infer our psychological characteristics and react accordingly in an emotionally-intelligent way. “People may choose to change their own intuitions and judgements with this kind of data analysis when making important life decisions such as choosing activities, career paths or even romantic partners,” said Wu Youyou of Cambridge University.
The Independent, 12 January and 4 February 2015 (Adapted)
Question 1: [2 POINTS] Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
a) Duffy says Facebook should not be used at all by people.
b) The two studies mentioned were linked to the same research team.
c) According to the second study, your computer could predict your character better than a person.
d) The second study suggests people may one day listen to a computer’s opinion before making important decisions.
Question 2: [2 POINTS] Answer the following questions in your own words according to the text.
a) Does the first study see Facebook as positive or negative?
b) What possible future relationship between people and computers is described in the second study?
Question 3: [1,5 POINTS] Find words or phrases in the text that correspond to the words and definitions given.
- a) jealous (paragrah 1) envious
- b) entertaining (paragraph 1) fun
- c) teammate (paragraph 2) colleague
- d) forecast (paragraph 3) predict
- e) exactly (paragraph 4) accurately
Question 4: [1,5 POINTS] Complete the following sentences without changing the meaning.
a) “Are you going to study for the English exam?” they asked us.
- They asked us … if (whether or not) we were going to study for the English exam.
b)We have to test more than 30 samples for this study.
- More than 30 samples … have to be tested for this study.
c) She’s not good at cooking because she never helps her parents cook at home.
WRITINGQuestion 5: [3 POINTS] Write a short essay (about 120-150 words) on the following topic:
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networks like Twitter and Facebook?