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Jun 14 2015 - 08:00 PM
Social Media Is Changing Our Brain

Forgetting things? Distracted? Wondering why your phone is vibrating when your phone is not really vibrating? Don’t worry. Maybe you’re in love! Or maybe you’re just spending too much time with technology.

Toronto pop-scientists AsapSCIENCE explain that a phenomenon like phantom vibration syndrome is just one of the neurological tricks that social media is playing on us, the users, in our search for human connection. In fact, it may be true that human connection is not really what we seek, but instead the chemical satisfaction of clicking, or "liking," or telling stories about ourselves in a different way than when we encounter people in the real world. Some studies show that up to 10% of us are symptomatic of a veritable addiction to social media, where we experience real changes in our emotional stability and our capacities to control our own actions, to check or not to check an online status update or an email. We might even endure physical brain transformations similar to ones found in drug users. Our capacities to focus or to multi-task might be at risk of disappearing.

The news isn’t all bad though, especially with regard to our relationships. Some studies show that people who meet online tend to like each other more than those who don’t. Others show that success rates for relationships beginning on the Internet might hover above those for relationships that began in person. Maybe we need to acknowledge here the unique capacity for web tools to locate compatibility. But maybe we also have other, more beneficial brain changes to investigate.

What do we make of this? Do the social benefits of social media outweigh the potential psychological costs? Join the discussion on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion:

@00:13 frankshrek: It affects the way we read in the sense that we learn new words everyday just being on social media.

@01:46 Kafou: Even though that social media has lots of advantages in our society, it also affects the way we communicate and interact with each other. We message or inbox each other on Facebook rather than face to face interaction.

|By: Jacob Albert|791 Reads