Our brain is connected to process social signals. What happens to our brains on social media?

The Pandora's box, represented by social networks, has fundamentally changed our society in ways that we have not yet fully outlined. A digital ecosystem that has emerged, seemingly overnight, to become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.

In The Hype Machine, MIT Professor and Entrepreneur Sinan Aral examines how some of the world's largest social platforms are built, how they work, and how much they influence us. ›Effectively makes decisions. Aral takes us inside our own brains to see why our brain, connected to social interaction, falls so easily prey to the siren song of social media.

Neurologists at UCLA wanted to know what was going on with our brains on social media. So they obviously created an Instagram-style app to study how the brain reacts when we browse through photos in our feed. The app displays a series of photos in turn, just like on Instagram. The researchers then studied the teens using fMRI devices and recorded which regions of their brains lit up while using the researchers' Instagram version.

They also experimentally manipulated the number of appreciations a photograph received, as well as the types of photographs that participants saw, including whether they saw their own photos or the photographs of others. and if the photos show risky behaviors (such as alcohol consumption) or neutral behaviors. Since then, they have corroborated the results in young adults and say they have discovered something intriguing and worrying.

First, viewing photographs with more appreciation has been associated with more activity in the brain regions responsible for social knowledge, rewards (the dopamine system), and attention (the visual cortex). When participants viewed photos with more appreciation, they experienced greater overall brain activity and their visual cortex lit up. When the visual cortex lights up, we focus more on what we are looking at, paying more attention to it, and increasing our perspective to look more closely.

To ensure that the differences between the images did not determine the results, the researchers randomized the number of image appreciations and controlled the brightness and content of the photographs. The results were true whether the participants looked at their own photos or the photos of others. In short, when we see images from social networks with more appreciation, we increase our interest and inspect them in more detail. We pay more attention to online information when it is more appreciated by others.

You might think, well, photos that get more appreciation are probably more interesting. But the researchers randomly assigned the likes, which means that it was the likes themselves, not the photos, that triggered the activation of the visual cortex.

Secondly, having more appreciation for one's own photographs stimulated the mental network – the social brain. When participants looked at photos with themselves, they responded to those with higher appreciations (randomly assigned) with significantly higher brain activity in the associated ability regions. social issues.

They also recorded higher neural activity in the lower frontal gyrus, which is associated with imitation. When we view photos with ourselves, our brain activates regions responsible for thinking about how people look at us and our similarities and differences with them. In other words, when we think about our own photos, we perceive them in their social context – we think about the way other people think about them.

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