trust learning; social media; privacy; locus of control


With the rise of social media, many social media users have concerns about their privacy and what they share online. Users must reveal certain pieces of information about themselves to benefit from the convenience of social media and the internet, such as allowing a website to access a specific location to find stores nearby. The problem arises when this data, particularly personal data, is misused. This dilemma of choosing which information to share is incredibly important as social media and the internet evolve. Taking control of one’s privacy may assist in determining which information to share and may reduce stress about potential issues about potential data misuse. Locus of Control attempts to explain the effects of reinforcement on behavior by dividing individuals into two groups: internals and externals. Examining this concept in the context of trust-related decision making may shed light on how users navigate trust online, and in turn how it influences account privacy. To address this need, the current study utilized the Trust Game along with a series of surveys to measure trust, social media account privacy, Locus of Control, and stress. Results indicated a lack of differences between internals and externals in terms of trust behavior, stress, and whether or not Instagram accounts were public. While no conclusions can be drawn about the relationship between these variables, research regarding how users navigate trust in online environments should be continued using improved methods.

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Lighthall, Nichole


College of Sciences



Thesis Discipline




Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus Access


Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Included in

Psychology Commons