As great as social media has been in connecting the globe online, its effects on human behaviour are still somewhat unknown. Many studies have been conducted to better understand the effect social media has on the human brain. These studies mostly focus on why humans have become so addicted to social media and how this addiction affects human behaviour.
A study done by researchers at UCLA concluded that “By watching the activity inside different regions of the brain as the teens used the app, the team found certain regions became activated by ‘likes’, with the brain’s reward centre becoming especially active.”
This explains how so many people become addicted to social media. The same pathways of the brain that release dopamine when we eat or, do something enjoyable, are being activated when we receive a like online. So, just as the release of dopamine makes the human mind want to repeat that meal, or enjoyable activity, the release of dopamine when we get a like makes our brain want to be on that particular social media site all the time.
This type of validation online negates the need for validation in everyday life. “In a more recent study, conducted by Dr. Rauch and colleagues, the team found that social interaction on social media sites, specifically Facebook, may have a negative impact on face-to-face encounters for individuals who already have high levels of anxiety.” So as we communicate more online, the quality of face-to-face interactions is deteriorating.
Social media has connected us globally but disconnected us from reality.