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100 More Things #137: FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT) IS REAL



FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. It refers to the idea that some of our behavior is motivated by being afraid that if we don’t take certain actions we are going to miss out on opportunities.

A series of research studies by Andrew Przybylski (2013) shows how pervasive FOMO is, and also has some interesting conclusions about who has the highest FOMO and how FOMO affects behavior.

Przybylski found that:

  • FOMO was negativly related to age. The older you are the less FOMO you feel.
  • Men have high levels of FOMO than women.
  • Young men, therefore, have the highest levels of FOMO.
  • People who have the highest rates of FOMO were the least satisfied with their lives.

High levels of social media use are correlated with high levels of FOMO. Watch out for this conclusion, though. Correlation does not imply causation – social media use could lead to more FOMO, or more FOMO could lead to more social media use.


  • If you are thinking of using FOMO as a motivator to get people to take action, it might be more effective with men.
  • If you are thinking of using FOMO as a motivator it might be more effective with younger people than older people.


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