Facebook ‘affects your brain like doing cocaine’

From the Web

…states Professor Ofir Turel of California State University, Fullerton, USA. Rob Waugh reports in metro.co.uk on February 16, 2016


Up to 11% of us suffer from some form of technology addiction – and a brain scan study has shown that Facebook affects our brain in a similar way to drugs such as cocaine.

Professor Ofir Turel of California State University, Fullerton, monitored the brains of 20 volunteers – and found that the amygdala-striatal system, involved in drug addiction, was affected when they saw images related to Facebook. But there are differences, Turel says – meaning that Facebook is easier to quit than, for instance, a heavy-duty crack habit.

Demotivational Facebook addiction
Credit: relatably.com

Turel says, “The impulsive system can be thought of as a car’s accelerator, while the inhibitory system can be likened to a brake. In addictions, there is very strong acceleration associated with the impulsive system often coupled with a malfunctioning inhibitory system.”

The volunteers – all Facebook users – had to press buttons when they saw Facebook-related images and traffic signs.

Turel continues, “The participants responded to Facebook stimuli faster than they did to road signs. This is scary when you think about it, since it means that users might respond to a Facebook message on their mobile device before reacting to traffic conditions if they are using technology while on the road.”

But the inhibitory system – also involved in drug addiction – didn’t seem to be affected.

Turel says, “This is good news, since it means that the behavior can be corrected with treatment. We speculate that addictive behavior in this case stems from low motivation to control the behavior, which is due partly to the relatively benign societal and personal consequences of technology overuse, compared to, say, substance abuse.”


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