Saturday, December 15, 2018

More Facebook Friends Means a Bigger Brain

Credit: wikipedia
facebook and your brain

If you use Facebook, and who doesn't, then your brain size correlates to how many Facebook "friends" you have. Actually it also correlates to how many "real friends" you have.

If you use Facebook, and who doesn't, then your brain size correlates to how many Facebook "friends" you have. Actually it also correlates to how many "real friends" you have. Confused yet?

Researchers from University College London reported that certain areas of your brain have more "grey matter" the more friends you have on Facebook. The researchers also concluded that if you have more Facebook friends then you tend to have more "real world friends." The study did not take into account the total number of internet relationships that participants had. They limited their research to total facebook friends and "real world" friends.

For braniacs the specific areas of your brain that show more "grey matter," according to these researches, include your amygdala, the right superior temporal sulcus, the left middle temporal gyrus and the right entorhinal cortex.

You may be thinking "then what's the point, since the study doesn't prove that if I click on 'Add More Friends' my brain size will grow. That is an interesting question.

The researchers adddressed this by saying that they identified a corrleation and not a cause. Ahhh, so you would be right to have concluded that gathering more Facebook friends won't necessarily increase your "grey matter."

The possibility still does however exist that the more interraction you have on Facebook that you will grow more "grey matter." The scientists did not rule this out. It also is possible that the number of "real life friends" will cause an increase in brain matter; so make sure to still keep your "real world three / dimensional friends". All this research could however also just mean that our brains are hardwired to have a greater number of friends because we have more "grey matter."

The researchers, quite surprisingly, did not mention BrooWaha in their study though if one were to be conservative and wish to ensure that you maximize the amount of "grey matter" in your cavity you can simply connect with more people and it won't matter what the cause of increased brain size is as you'll have taken care of one possiblity.

Parents may have heard that using social networks makes your kids "less social in the real world". The study refutes this. The scientists suggest that there is a tendency for those with a large number of "online friends" to also possess a much a wider "real world social network" too.

So, if your kids are on Facebook, simply look at the number of friends they have, compare that number to the number of "friends" other kids have and you'll get a clear picture about whether they have more or less "gray matter" than these "other" kids.

The reality is we likely will not know the impact of social networks on our brains for a long time to come. Social networks such as Facebook, Google+ and BlogCatalog and BrooWaha have a massive impact on how society communicates and interracts yet the affect these social networks ultimately will have on our brains is largely a mystery.

Digging deeper into the study does reveal some interesting facts though. One of the more interesting is that 3 regions of the brain have no corrleation between the size of the brain and the number of offline friends that you have are the right superior temporal sulcus, this is the area that helps us perceive a moving object as biological, the left middle temporal gyrus or the area that plays a role in memory and navigation, including navigation through social networks and the right entorhinal cortex or the area is involved in the perception of social cues.

The amygdala, or the part of your brain associated with processing memory and emotional responses was the one area of the brain where the researchers found a correlation both between offline and online friends. The exciting question according to the researchers now is whether these structures change over time. They say this will help us answer the question of whether the internet is changing our brains.

If you know what this all means, please help me out. I cannot tell which came first, "the chicken or the egg." So while scientists study whether there is an impact of social networks on the brain, I'd suggest that anyone of us would be right to conclude that the answer is "yes." Though, how it affects us probably depends on the ways we use social networks. While interestingthis study would seem to be at the same stage of development as when men used stones to communicate by drawing images on the ground.

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3 comments on More Facebook Friends Means a Bigger Brain

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By Libdrone on October 20, 2011 at 07:14 pm

imho, making a distinction between "online friends" and "real world friends" is silly. Over the years I have met face to face so many people whom I first got to know online. I don't have online friend and real world friends. For me, they're all just friends.

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By TonyBerkman on October 20, 2011 at 07:28 pm

Al, I agree with you though for some people they have never met their online friends. For scientists they clearly need to try to hold as many variables constant as possible to identify the impact of "friends" online. My guess is this study was not well thought out from the start as from what I read they didn't take into account the "length of time you spend online with 'friends'"

It's pretty obvious that the internet and our activity on social networks will change our brains. They didn't identify any area of the brain that was affected by being online. The areas of the brain affected by relationships or they have say perhaps "hardwired" to be better at relationships were never isolated to the online world. They either included the online and offline world or just the offline world.

I suppose one has to start with a hypothesis though as much as they tried to prove that the impact of online frienships on the brain they failed to do so.

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By Sotera88 on June 18, 2014 at 04:46 am

Ok it seems to be so important sukienka na lato

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