How Social Media Affects The Human Brain ?

What is that one activity you find common among most age groups? The answer is quite simple. It’s the use of social media. Everybody seems so enamoured by the attraction of social media. It doesn’t matter where you go – park, playground, cinema hall, club, airport, office, school or even your own sweet home, you will hardly find anyone without a mobile in their hands. And every now and then, they would be checking their social media updates. 

According to a Pew Research Center report of 2018, around 88% of people in the 18 to 29 years age group acknowledged using social media. In the age group of 30 to 49 years, it was 78%. Although in the higher age group the percentage decreased marginally, but not too much. There were 64% people in the age group of 50 to 64 years who were frequent users of social media. Why is there so much addiction to social media? How does it affect the human brain?

The continuous flow of communication and connection that we get from social media is changing the way we think and react. We are developing habits which are good as well as harmful for our mental health. From a neurological point of view, social media has a major impact on human’s brain functions. It affects the brain in different ways that can trigger various responses. Getting a positive reaction on social media affects many parts of the brain. So, when you get likes on Facebook and Instagram, it activates the striatum and ventral tegmental regions of your brain that acknowledges rewards and appreciation. The positive feedback on social media releases dopamine receptors which are G protein regulating motor activity and neurological disorders.

There was another experiment carried out by employing the MRI test to monitor brain activity during social media use and found similar results. Researchers also analyzed teenagers’ brains and discovered that after receiving more likes on their Instagram pictures, there was increased activity experienced in their neural regions of the brain that controls the reward processing, attention, and social cognition. The heavy users of social media should be aware of the consequences of the channels they use since it’s so closely connected to their reward system. Addiction to drugs and gambling have a direct connection to the reward system of an individual’s brain. Therefore, social media users need to be watchful of their activities on their preferred channel.

Social media also affects the decision making capacity and the parts of the brain controlling the emotional processing functions. In another experiment done on adolescents, it was found that whenever they felt left out on social media, it affected the emotional and sensory processing region of their brains. This happened when they were excluded from some chat, group or events on social media.

The research still seems to be in its initial stages as to how social media use affects the average human brain. Although we are now better informed than earlier, yet a lot still needs to be learned. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *