That the excessive use of social networks is not especially healthy is no secret. But with the passage of time, different researchers and studies shed light on how the brain behaves exactly in the face of the overstimulation that comes from an unhealthy use of these platforms.
“A study shows users who use Facebook with excessive frequency make decisions impulsively, preferring short-term gains.”
Researchers at the University of Michigan have published a study that shows that users who spend too much time on social networks suffer problems when making decisions. In fact, the users studied showed a way of making decisions similar to those who are addicted to drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
The researchers asked the 71 participants to evaluate their use of Facebook with a system called the Bergen Scale of Facebook Addiction. They were then submitted to the Iowa Gambling Task, which is a research tool that evaluates decision-making.
This system presents participants with four decks of virtual cards associated with punishments and rewards. The participants must choose cards from the cards, and they are informed that some cards are better than others, so they must ignore the bad ones and take good cards.
The IGT system has been used to measure decision making in all types of people: from patients with lesions in the temporal lobe to drug addicts. The use of this test to study people with addiction to social networks is a novelty.
The results showed that those users who had reported that they used the social network a lot had a significantly worse test score than those who made more responsible use. These users took cards from the “bad” cards, which give more rewards immediately but are worse in the long term, a behavior observed in drug addicts.