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Social Media Changes Your Brain. Fact

5 Effects Social Media Has On Your Brain Activity

The folk at Asap SCIENCE (the trendiest scientists on social media) have come up with their latest bite size chunk of scientific insight – the ways in which social media alters our brains. It’s similar to how different personalities are better suited to, or use and interact with, social media in different ways, except here we’re not talking about your personality, we’re talking about your brain. And how it’s changing. Because of social media. So read on.

1). 5-10% of internet users are unable to control how much time they spend online. Although it’s a psychological addiction as opposed to a physical one, those who exhibited uncontrollable internet usage also showed, on brain scans, a similar impairment of the regions affected by drug dependencies – particularly the emotional, decision making and processing areas. The thinking is that social media is about immediate gratification and visible reward, so our brains are rewiring towards this norm of neurological activity and excitement.

2). You might think that juggling your Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter accounts whilst snapping up some great shots for your next Instagram (and uploading your CV to your LinkedIn profile) would require excellent multitasking skills, but studies have shown that in fact heavy media users’ skills are lacking significantly behind the multitasking skills of less-tech dependent individuals. Apparently, insistence on switching between mobile apps and internet pages isn’t multitasking in the true sense, as when it comes to actual processing skills it means we are unable to filter out interference or commit information to memory.

3). Phantom Vibration Syndrome – yes, it’s a thing now – refers to that moment when your phone buzzes…right? Or did it? It totally did…wait, let me just check…ok, nothing. I swear it buzzed. Back to work. Wait, it’s buzzed again! Oh. Not so good for the sustained concentration and attention spans that are required in the work place. Now this next claim may seem a little far-fetched, but studies have shown that people interpret a physical itch on their body as meaning ‘my phone must have just vibrated!’ The implication is that technology has begun to rewire our nervous systems, in ways never before seen.

4). Social media (the retweets, the likes, the shares) releases dopamine in the brain, particularly with regard to the success of our own statuses. 30-40% of face to face conversations (remember them) revolve around talking about our own experiences, online the figures sit at around the 80% mark with regard to self-involved communications. Apparently the same areas of our brain that are involved in emotion, love and orgasm are triggered when we use social media, particularly when we know we have an audience.

5). But good news for those looking for love online: statistics show that partners tend to like each other more if they meet for the first time online, rather than a face to face interaction. Why? Perhaps because people are more anonymous and mysterious online, or perhaps they become less inhibited and social awkward, or perhaps that they can be clearer about their goals on social media, there is a statistical increase in the number of relationships that started online.

This has turned into a bit of a ‘studies show’ rant, but rest assured social media is affecting our personalities, brains, mood, attention spans, organisation skills, business structures, government policy and pretty much everything in between, and we don’t really need studies to show that.

Katie Rowley 

Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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Social Media Changes Your Brain. Fact Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, September 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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