Facebook addicts ARE needy: Brains of those who use site the most are found to respond strongest to positive feedback

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Reward circuits in the brain predict how likely a person is to use Facebook

People whose nucleus accumbens structure in the brain respond most strongly to positive feedback use the social networking site most intently

It isn't known if positive social feedback drives people to interact on social media, or if use of social media changes the way positive social feedback is processed by the brain

It's always nice to get a 'like' when you post a status or photograph on Facebook, but research has revealed that the brains of those who use the social networking site the most are more affected by the feedback they receive than less regular users.

Scientists have discovered that reward circuits in the brain linked to food, money, sex and reputation can predict how likely a person is to use Facebook.

Researchers found that those whose nucleus accumbens in the brain responded most strongly to positive feedback were the same people who used the social networking site most intently.
Reward circuits in the brain linked to food, money, sex and reputation can predict how likely a person is to use Facebook, according to a new study

Reward circuits in the brain linked to food, money, sex and reputation can predict how likely a person is to use Facebook, according to a new study

The nucleus accumbens is a ‘small but critical’ part of the brain which processes rewards.

Dr Dar Meshi, of Germany’s Freie University, looked at the activity in this part of the brain in 31 people and compared the results to the people’s Facebook usage.

Dr Meshi said: ‘As human beings, we evolved to care about our reputation. In today’s world, one way we’re able to manage our reputation is by using social media websites like Facebook.’

Facebook was chosen for the study because interactions on the website are carried out in view of the user’s friends, and the public, and can affect their reputation. 

People whose nucleus accumbens structure in the brain responds most strongly to positive feedback are most likely to use Facebook intently

‘Liking’ someone is positive social feedback, and can be considered related to their reputation.

Participants completed a questionnaire to show how many friends they had and how many minutes they spent on Facebook.

They also participated in a video interview, and were then told whether people thought highly of them.

Researchers recorded functional neuroimaging (fMRI) of the participants’ brains during these procedures.

Results showed that participants who received positive feedback about themselves produced stronger activation of the nucleus accumbens than when they saw the positive feedback that another person received.

The strength of this difference corresponded to participants’ reported intensity of Facebook use.

Dr Meshi said: ‘Our study reveals that the processing of social gains in reputation in the left nucleus accumbens predicts the intensity of Facebook use across individuals.

‘These findings expand upon our present knowledge of nucleus accumbens function as it relates to complex human behaviour.’

Dr Meshi said it was not known if the results showed that positive social feedback drives people to interact on social media, or if sustained use of social media changes the way positive social feedback is processed by the brain.

The report was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Anthony Claret

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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