Is Social Media Turning Us into Lab Rats?admin
Well, not technically – however, scientists at New York University have shown that social media engagement, “especially users’ efforts to gain likes,” has the same effect on humans as a lab rat pushing a button for a reward, according to IFLScience.com. The findings of the study were recently published in Nature Communications.
“These results establish that social media engagement follows basic, cross-species principles of reward learning,” paper author David Amodio, a professor at New York University and the University of Amsterdam said in a statement. “These findings may help us understand why social media comes to dominate daily life for many people and provide clues, borrowed from research on reward learning and addiction, to how troubling online engagement may be addressed.”
For this study researchers analyzed more than one million posts from over 4,000 people on Instagram and other social media sites. They found that users were more likely to post more frequently if they received higher numbers of “likes” and less frequently if they received fewer “likes”. Using a computational model they identified a pattern that “conforms closely to known mechanism of reward learning, a long-established psychological concept that posits behavior may be driven and reinforced by rewards.”
“Our findings can help lead to a better understanding of why social media dominates so many people’s daily lives and can also provide leads for ways of tackling excessive online behavior,” lead author Björn Lindström of the University of Amsterdam said.