With social media sites being used by ⅓
of the entire world, they’ve clearly had
an major influence on society. But what about
our bodies? Here are 5 crazy ways that social
media and the internet are affecting your
brain right now!
Can’t log off? Surprisingly, 5-10% of internet
users are actually unable to control how much
time they spend online. Though it’s a psychological
addiction as opposed to a substance addiction,
brain scans of these people actually show
a similar impairment of regions that those
with drug dependence have. Specifically, there
is a clear degradation of white matter in
the regions that control emotional processing,
attention and decision making. Because social
media provides immediate rewards with very
little effort required, your brain begins
to rewire itself, making you desire these
stimulations. And you begin to crave more
of this neurological excitement after each
interaction. Sounds a little like a drug,
We also see a shift when looking at multi-tasking.
You might think that those who use social
media or constantly switch between work and
websites are better at multitasking, but studies
have found that when comparing heavy media
users to others, they perform much worse during
task switching tests. Increased multi-tasking
online reduces your brains ability to filter
out interferences, and can even make it harder
for your brain to commit information to memory.
Like when your phone buzzes in the middle
of productive work. Or wait…did it even
buzz? Phantom Vibration Syndrome is a relatively
new psychological phenomenon where you think
you felt your phone go off, but it didn’t.
In one study, 89% of test subjects said they
experienced this at least once every two weeks.
It would seem that our brains now perceive
an itch as an actual vibration from our phone.
As crazy as it seems, technology has begun
to rewire our nervous systems – and our brains
are being triggered in a way they never have
been before in history.
Social Media also triggers a release of dopamine
– the feel good chemical. Using MRI scans,
scientist found that the reward centres in
people’s brains are much more active when
they are talking about their own views, as
opposed to listening to others. Not so surprising
– we all love talking about ourselves right?
But it turns out that while 30-40% of face-to-face
conversations involve communicating our own
experiences, around 80% of social media communication
is self involved. The same part of your brain
related to orgasms, motivation and love are
stimulated by your social media use – and
even more so when you know you have an audience.
Our body is physiologically rewarding us for
talking about ourselves online!
But it’s not all so self involved. In fact,
studies on relationships have found that partners
tend to like each other more if they meet
for the first time online rather than with
a face to face interaction. Whether it’s
because people are more anonymous or perhaps
more clear about their future goals, there
is a statistical increase in successful partnerships
that started online. So while the internet
has changed our verbal communication with
increased physical separation, perhaps the
ones that matter most end up even closer.
Speaking of social media, we had you ask us
questions on twitter, instagram, facebook,
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we could find and did a Q&A Video over on
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check it out with the link in the description!
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