Facebook Psychology: Is addiction changing our minds?

Most of us know someone who is addicted to Facebook. Maybe that someone is even ourself. It turns out that when notifications are received and answered, we get a hit of dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter in the human brain.

In our mind, every “ding” could mean a social, sexual or professional possibility. Each “hit” recharges our addictive compulsion. As media scholar Judith Donath puts it, “Cumulatively, the effect is potent and hard to resist.”

Now this part’s a bit frightening. People who have spent a lot of time online display fundamentally altered prefrontal cortexes. Others, who had not spent much time on social networking sites, participated in a study where they agreed to spend five hours online. Following those five hours, they showed signs of rewiring their brains.

The more time devoted to Facebook, the less room there is in the brain for speech, memory, motor control, emotion and sensory — 10-20 percent less, to be exact. This is due to the enlargement of the area of the brain devoted to social behavior and emotion.

China, Taiwan and Korea have already accepted IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder) to be a very real psychological disorder. The United States will be following in their footsteps in 2013.

Facebook Psychology
Source: Facebook Psychoogy

What do you think? Is IAD real or just an excuse for a lack of self-control?

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