Ever find yourself completely unable to cut ties with the time-consuming social media outlet known as Facebook? A recent study published highlights the root cause of our addiction to this website.
A team of scientists from MIT in Massachusetts, IULM University in Milan, and Catholic University of Sacro Cuore discovered that people display physical and psychophysiological responses during Facebook use that mimicked those of persons partaking in creative ventures or playing an instrument.
The researchers conducted their study by measuring respiration, electroencephalogram, skin conductance, pupil dilation, and electromyopgraphy in 30 students, ranging from 19 to 25, as they browsed Facebook. They compared these results with the responses yielded by viewing photos of nature and solving math problems.
The report shows that the responses elicited by Facebook use tended to be joyous and exciting, according to the Valence-Arousal model. The group’s report states, “the biological signals revealed that Facebook use can evoke a psychophysiological state characterized by high positive valence and high arousal.” This helps explain we become so consumed with the site and also builds upon a recent study suggesting that Twitter and Facebook have a higher addiction potential than even alcohol or cigarettes. While we browse, we receive positive reinforcement from the happiness and natural “high” we feel from our activity on the site—spurring us on to indulge in it further.
Haven’t we all found ourselves on Facebook for hours doing absolutely NOTHING? It would seem that particularly in those moments we are seeking the rewarding chemical responses we experience during our time on the site. Surprising? We wouldn’t think so. We have certainly seen signs of Facebook use being a detriment to a user’s life, (i.e: When you’re working on that term paper, but seem to be completely unable to resist the call of this social media titan) and one of the primary signs of addiction is when a habit begins to negatively affect your quality of life. I’ve said it before–Mark Zuckerberg is on a quest for world domination.