Your Brain on Social Media | Inverse
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Your Brain on Social Media | Inverse

I’m Shannon Odell, @shodell, and I’m a neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate, and this is your brain on social media. (rock music) As of the end of 2017,
Facebook has 2.2 billion users. Users report that they’re
on Facebook for two reasons. To connect with people
and to manage and control the impression they make on others. Evolution favors people
who like belong to a group because it comes with a
variety of survival advantages including obtaining food, finding a mate, and increased safety. Our brains are rich in regions associated with social processing and reward. These areas include the
ventral media prefrontal cortex the ventral striatum, and
the ventral tegmental area. People also use Facebook to
control and measure their own self image. Users give feedback to each
other using the coveted like, which catapults us to another hot topic in social neuroscience. The like is thought to
be directly linked to the social reward pathway. Everything from the
color of the notification to the placement of the
counter has been selected by Facebook engineers
to have maximum impact on the rewards center of the brain. – Whoa! Am I addicted to Facebook? One study found that when presented with Facebook related images, subjects showed increased activation of the
amygdala and the striatum. Two areas heavily
associated with addiction. Luckily, it found Facebook
addiction-like behavior had which is a central hallmark of substance related addictions. A recent study found that
after deactivating Facebook for five days, subjects showed
decreased cortisol levels suggesting that leaving
Facebook for just under a week, is enough to lower your
daily stress level. Further, as some studies have found
that students who use Facebook to interact with the course
material and classmates And, I’ll drink to that, right? Ugh, yeah, that still sucks. – Ever wonder what exactly
is driving me to post a picture of my brunch? One study reported that an increase in sharing photographs
and videos on Instagram, is correlated to feelings of loneliness. It seems counterintuitive,
but it appears that introverts are more likely to post. Another study found that feelings of confidence and extroversion
were linked to an increased likelihood of liking and
commenting on other’s photos. An FMRI study in teens showed
that a group was much more likely to think a photo was
good if it had more likes, regardless of the content. The exact same photo edited
to show fewer likes was consistently rated to be worse. The same FMRI study found
that when viewing a photo with more likes, subjects
showed increased activation in the visual cortex,
suggesting that we actually pay closer attention to
photos with more likes. When subjects viewed their own photos, reward pathway activation
increased when photos were accompanied with
high amounts of likes. So, please, for my brain’s
sake, would you like this photo? Hey, can you like my photo? @shodell It’s a brunch. It’s the one with the bananas. Can you like it? Twitter is a micro blogging platform. But do users actually believe
all the information they get off of twitter? Once study found that users
were less likely to be swayed by false information when it was given in a twitter-like format. Which, in this world is a very good thing. Scientists have shown that
there is a neural pathway underlying the successful spread of ideas. AKA the science of the re-tweet. One lab found that more
successful, or viral ideas, are associated with increased
activation in a brain region known as the temporoparietal
junction, or TPJ. The TPJ is thought to be
important in the process of mentalizing, or when
you think about how others think and feel. So, this study suggests that
creating retweetable tweets has less to do with how
many think pieces you write on the topic and more
about how you understand how others think and feel. So, I guess from now on I’ll
be tweeting with you guys in mind. What do you guys like? Tomagotchis? Soup? Diaries? Jumanji? Explosions? That’s bad. Skittles? (techno music)

12 thoughts on “Your Brain on Social Media | Inverse

  1. COOL Dr Sha-Non. I have been trying different things so I can have a paper ready. I have no likes on my FB because I stopped liking all my friends post lol. The best ones are the Phantom likes. I get 1 like a year from some lol

  2. The pictures on the following webpage do not load:

    WTF?! Am I in the wrong country? Does your website suck!?

    What the hell is going on??

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