Date of Award

1-23-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Individuals usually satisfy the universal need to belong through close personal relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). However, introverts engage less in the social behaviors that provide the opportunity to establish and maintain these relationships (Mehl, Gosling, & Pennebaker, 2006; Rusting & Larsen, 1995). Some evidence suggests that the close relationships of introverts are less fulfilling than those of extraverts (Berry, Willingham, & Thayer, 2000; Watson, Hubbard, & Wiese, 2000). Thus, supplementary ways of filling belongingness needs might benefit introverts. According to the Social Surrogacy Hypothesis, one such way is through parasocial interaction (Derrick, Gabriel, & Hugenberg, 2009), i.e., the one-sided relationships people form with personalities from television or other media (Horton & Wohl, 1956). Research has shown that parasocial relationships may be potent supplements to real relationships in sating the need to belong (Derrick, Gabriel, & Tippin, 2008). Furthermore, the Compensatory Paradigm of Parasocial Interaction posits that individuals with various social challenges compensate for insufficiencies in their real relationships with parasocial ones (Horton & Wohl). This dissertation sought support for both the Social Surrogacy Hypothesis and the Compensatory Paradigm of Parasocial Interaction with respect to the personality trait of introversion. Specifically, I investigated whether introverts derive the benefits that extraverts get from real relationships through parasocial relationships instead. I also investigated whether parasocial relationships exert their power specifically by filling belongingness needs, as opposed to exerting their power by improving mood.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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