social media affect brain
Social media has become part of our nature. We post, we share, we like, we follow, we unfollow, we subscribe. But how is social media affecting us? A small study of 20 college students found a correlation between students who demonstrated higher levels of Facebook addiction in an activity of the amygdala striatal system while they interacted with Facebook signals. This activation was the same scene in those with substance addiction.
In a 2016 UCLA study, teens were split into two groups. One was shown a photo with a high number of likes,
and the other group was shown the same photo but with fewer likes. Those who viewed the photo with more likes were more likely to like the photo themselves than the group who saw the photo with fewer likes. Again, it was the same picture. This experiment found activity in multiple parts of the brain when teens saw photos
they took to receive a lot of likes. In particular, this study found significant activity in part of the brain’s reward circuitry known as the nucleus accumbens. After positive social stimuli, dopamine is released in the brain, such as likes and positive comments on social media. That photo she just posted, she got a bunch of likes, releasing dopamine into her brain and causing a feeling of satisfaction.👍
Psychologist B.F. Skinner found that mice would respond to certain stimuli they knew resulted in a reward more often when the reward came at variable times. This theory can also be applied on social media and the times we check it looking for a reward in terms of a like, comment, or message. We habitually check our accounts, but we are not always rewarded. Maybe this photo didn’t get the number of likes you wanted. So you will try again and again and again looking for that reward.
But wait, something else. Have you ever felt your mobile phone vibrate when it really didn’t?
According to Robert Rosenberger of the Georgia Institute of Technology, we’ve become so connected to our phones, that they’ve sort of become part of our bodies. Any time something stimulates and triggers sensation
in any area where you keep your phone, you might believe it’s your phone. This is called phantom vibration syndrome.
Studies show that nearly 90% of people report experiencing these phantom vibrations.
“It’s a social-validation feedback loop… Exactly the kind of things that the hacker like myself would come up with Because you are exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology”.
–Sean Parker, former Facebook President.