New Master Thesis Assignments

Facebook, the principle of social proof, and what is it that meets the eye?


The principle of social proof states that if individuals are uncertain about a particular topic or a course of action, they might base their response on the responses of other people. Researchers within the Department of Psychology of Safety have run an online field experiment to evaluate this principle in the relation to a Facebook page. The hypothesis was that if the comments were inconclusive, the participants would focus on the number of likes associated with the comments. In the manipulation check, it was found that quite of number of the participants did not correctly remember the number of likes associated with the various comments. This led to the question how people actually behaved when watching a Facebook page. A good strategy to study this would be observations by means of eye-tracking.

Research question

The assignment is to run an eye-tracking study to examine

1) how much attention individuals pay to various elements of a Facebook page and

2) whether there is a difference in this respect between a page with positive comments only, a page with negative comments only, and a page with positive as well as negative comments.


This assignment relates to a research theme within the Department of Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety that focuses on perception and communication with respect to food related issues.

Research method

An 1-factor experiment is the most obvious way to answer the research questions.

Research instruments

The data for the study will be collected by means of eye-tracking. This equipment is available in the BMS-lab.


Are you interested in this topic for your thesis? Please contact the theme coordinator Sven Zebel (