Checking your social media often may reduce gray matter in your brain, and here’s what that means
If you’re anything like us, you check your social media multiple times a day. Okay, okay, so it’s more like multiple times an hour. We’re only human, and the Instagram story bar is the best way to waste time.
But the next time you reach for your phone to open your Facebook app, know that your constant social media checking may actually be doing noticeable harm to your brain.
PsyPost reports about a new study published in Behavioural Brain Research that reveals unnerving truths about constant Facebook checking. The study tracked the Facebook-app-phone checking of 49 men and 36 women.
Researchers used MRI scans to examine the nucleus accumbens in their subjects’ brains. This is a section deep in the brain, and the size of the nucleus accumbens has been notably tied to the problem of addiction. That is to say, a smaller nucleus accumbens can be a sign of a person with a serious addiction.
And an addiction to social media is just like any other addiction. Or at least it is as far as the nucleus accumbens is concerned. The researchers discovered that participants that opened their Facebook app more and stayed on the app longer tended to experience a loss of grey matter in their nucleus accumbens.
Just to be clear, the researchers don’t know yet if there is a conclusive link between Facebook checking and reduction of grey matter. This is science we’re talking about! They’re going to need a ton of data before they come to a conclusion.
Also note that the study followed participants with normal Facebook usage habits. Another study author, Christian Montag, explained the findings to PsyPost.
The researcher said, "Future research will show if excessive usage (which we did not investigate) could represent a behavioral addiction."
We would not be at ALL surprised if research does find that Facebook can be the focal point of a behavioral addiction.
Next time someone jokes that they are “addicted to Facebook,” know that they could be hyperbolizing, obviously. Or they very well could be experiencing a loss of grey matter. Just one more thing to make us wary of too much social media.