‘TANGLED IN THE NET’: SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL NETWORKS OF LEARNERS
C. Martínez Priego1
, S. Antropova2
1Universidad Panamericana (Campus Guadalajara) (MEXICO)
2Centro Universitario Villanueva (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) (SPAIN)
This research shows the existing connections between the technological context of learners and the special characteristics of their emotional states, understood as motivation for the use of social networks as well as the effects of its usage. In order to prove the abovementioned connection, the analysis of some theories related to emotions and the influence of cultural variables has been conducted. This analysis is relevant since it provides a theoretical framework to the experimental research and has an educational value.
Regarding the theories on emotions, the ones of Darwinian origin highlight their adaptive character and the existence of primal emotions marked by their biological roots. Currently, the ‘social and emotional learning’ (SEL) theory is gaining strength, and giving way to two possible paths of reflection. On the one hand, there is a cultural influence on emotional states, and on the other hand, emotions as such can be the object of education. Once the behaviourist proposal is discarded, we can say that emotion includes the valuation of the stimuli or the triggers – a cognitive dimension of emotion. And this valuation is intervened by culture.
As far as the current cultural context is concerned, global social networking immersion involves two important cultural modifications:
(1) the change of one’s own privacy;
(2) the variation in types of personal ties. Virtual interpersonal relations as such are numerous and diversify the types of personal ties.
On the other hand, youngsters and the users of social networks in general are affected by the change in ‘private-public’ criteria. Both modifications can notably affect emotional responses and emotional learning since, we must remember, the stimulus to which the subject reacts emotionally more intensely is actually the psychosocial stimulus.
As an illustration, we propose that the value, which so far has been attributed to privacy manifestation, has changed, and therefore the possibility of emotional response. Likewise the increasing number of people we establish personal ties with through the social networks, having the peculiarity of the individuals not being present, modifies the emotional response. As some studies point out virtual ties, especially when they are numerous, are weak and affect self-esteem and self-control in comparison to the real-life ties which are much stronger.
To conclude, taking into consideration the aforementioned theories, we should state that the social network immersion presents important variables and directly affects students’ emotional profiles. As emotional manifestation is three-dimensional, we expect significant modifications in cognitive dimension: modification of basic psychological processes, such as attention; physiological changes: alteration in target organs or the neuroendocrine system in general; behavioural dimension: changes in real-life interpersonal relations may change, in daily routine, etc. The determination of the proportionality of the responses is actually the criteria used for the development of affective education.