Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Matthew Ryan 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Matthew Ryan; I have recently completed my final year of the Applied Psychology program at IADT. I've always been passionate about psychology and understanding human behavior, so this course was the perfect choice. My hobbies include music, travel, and fitness. Focally, the inspiration for my final year project was my curiosity about people's perceptions of fitness information on social media. Social media was influential as a resource in my own fitness journey, but it's shortcomings became increasingly obvious. In the future, I plan to further my studies and ultimately work in an environment that involves people, where I can make a difference.

Project Description

With the explosion of social media, there has been increased access to fitness information. The validity of this information has come into question. Limited research has studied fitness information and social media. The study aimed to examine the credibility judgement behaviours of people on social media and the difficulties they may face in doing so. In addition, the study examined if frequency of use of social media for fitness information (FUSM), fitness literacy (FL), author expertise importance (AEI), and motivating and friendly author importance (MFAI) significantly predict trust in social media for fitness information (TISM).

Project Outcomes

Results from a standard multiple regression found FUSM and MFAI to be the two strongest predictors of TISM; however, no significant relationship was found between FL and AEI, and TISM. Furthermore, the study identified several themes which contributed to people’s credibility judgments of information online such as, author expertise importance, scientific evidence, formal credentials, and professional expertise. Difficulties assessing the accuracy and usefulness of fitness information online was found to be linked to the personal motives of the author, claim analysis, and the corroboration of information with other sources

Thesis Title

Fitness Information on Social Media: Credibility Judgements and Significant Predictors of Trust