Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Pettey, Gary

Subject Headings

Evolutionary psychology, Emotions -- Social aspects, Online social networks, Evolutionary psychology, Social emotions, Social networking sites, Jealousy, Embarrassment, Guilt, Envy, Alienation, Anomie


Humans engage their environment through the combined effort of the mind, body proper and corresponding instinctual emotive devices (Damasio, 1994). These structures are a part of the same phenomena: human biology. Our emotive devices along with the brain and body act as an interwoven organism appraising the environment and making necessary adjustments for it survival and efficient functioning. Moreover, these structures actively engage socially complex signals like those that we experience daily in our social world. Plausibly, when these devices are not utilized the interwoven organism will be in a state of atrophy. Much like an antigen would trigger a reaction from the body to promote homeostasis, this same idea can be applied to a social agent of alienation viewed through four dimensions of negative social valence: envy, embarrassment, guilt, and shame. This exploratory research employed an Evolutionary Psychology perspective whereby the human mind is viewed through the lens of the physiological and psychological mechanisms that created the developmental programs we use today (Cosmides & Tooby, 1992). This theoretical framework was used to study the relationship between human behavior, the state of alienation, and SNS. Based on survey data from college students, there seemed to be a relationship between alienation and Social Networking Sites. Alienation dimensions were highest among those who had the lowest amount of contacts on SNS. The findings from this study will add to the body of knowledge on Computer Mediated Communication as well as afford an opportunity for further research in understanding human behavior engaged in SNS through the viewpoint of Evolutionary Psychology

Included in

Communication Commons