Free Press Journal

Impulsive social media use ups imbalance in the brain


Washington : Are you one of those people, who frequently check Facebook or Twitter, even while driving or in a meeting? Well, you might have to think about it now.

 A new study has claimed the impulsive act of checking social media while driving, in a work meeting, or at other times could have negative consequences and is linked with a deficiency in the balance between two systems in the brain, scientists say.

The greater the imbalances between the two systems, the more likely individuals were to engage in problematic social media use behaviours, researchers said. Researchers, including those from DePaul University in the US, obtained responses from about 341 undergraduate college students who use Facebook.

They collected and analysed problematic Facebook use data during one semester and then followed up with each student the next year to track their academic performance – in this case using grade point average – for both semesters and cumulatively.

They found that individuals who displayed higher levels of problematic use of Facebook had a strong cognitive-emotional preoccupation (system 1) and a weak cognitive-behavioural control (system 2), creating an imbalance.

System 1 is automatic and reactive, quickly triggered, often subconsciously, in reaction to stimulus such as a sight of or notifications from social media, said Hamed Qahri-Saremi, of DePaul University. System 2 is a reflective, reasoning system that moves more slowly, regulates cognitions, including the ones generated by system 1, and controls behaviours, said Qahari-Saremi.

Researchers found that 76 per cent of respondents reported using Facebook in class, 40 per cent reported using Facebook while

driving.                 –PTI