Emotional Utility and Recall of the Facebook News Feed

Pawarat Nontasil, Stephen Payne

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

9 Citations (SciVal)


We report a laboratory study (N=53) in which participants browsed their own Facebook news feeds for 10-15 minutes, choosing exactly when to quit, and later rated the overall emotional utility of the episode before attempting to recall threads. Finally, the emotional utility of each encountered thread was rated while looking over a recording of the interaction. We report that Facebook browsing was, overall, an emotionally positive experience; that recall of threads exhibited classic primacy and recency serial order effects; that recalled threads were both more positive and more valenced (less neutral) on average, than forgotten threads; and that overall emotional valence judgments were predicted, statistically, by the peak and end thread judgments. We find no evidence that local quit decisions were driven by the emotional utility of threads. In the light of these findings, we discuss the suggestion that emotional utility might partly explain the attractiveness of reading the news feed, and that an emotional memory bias might further increase the attractiveness of the newsfeed in prospect.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
Publication statusAcceptance date - 6 May 2019
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2019 (CHI2019) - Glasgow, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2019 (CHI2019)
Abbreviated titleCHI2019
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


  • Emotional utility
  • Facebook
  • Information addiction
  • The peak–end rule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software


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