Facebook Addiction Not Unwarranted

By: Zain Nabi  |   September 2nd, 2013   |   News, Social Media

Today everyone is virtually integrated into social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and at times it feels like one cannot spend their life without these networks. But are there any scientific merits to such theories?


According to some recent studies, the claims for the addiction of Facebook and other social media networks are not purely hyperbolic. According to German scientists intensity of use of Facebook is like the nucleus accumbency of brain – our cerebral “reward center” – from where a human brain subconsciously originates chemical payoffs from certain actions.


According to Dar Meshi, a study author, “As human beings, we evolved to care about our reputation. In today’s world, one way we’re able to manage our reputation is by using social media websites like Facebook. Our study reveals that the processing of social gains in reputation in the left nucleus accumbency predicts the intensity of Facebook use across individuals. These findings expand upon our present knowledge of the nucleus accumbency function as it relates to complex human behavior.”


Meshi with his team has conducted a concomitant experiment involving 31 subjects; in this research the researcher found that the fluctuations in nucleus accumbency activity and use of Facebook by an individual are proportional to each other. By using some MRI scans, the team recorded some responses to both received and observed positive social reactions. Positive feedbacks given to someone else yielded different response as compared to the feedback received or given through the social networks. The extent to which activities differed from each other corresponded to the intensity of Facebook use.


“Our findings relating individual social media use to the individual response of the brain’s reward system may also be relevant for both educational and clinical research in the future,” the study authors write.


That said, the results of the study do not have any long term effect or whether too much use of Facebook compels the user back to the platform – the two major characteristics of addiction of social media network. Social media may act as a drug or alcohol in the heightened brain activity it capitulates, but the team is still yet to figure out its long-term addictive capacity.

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