Are you addicted to using Facebook? Here’s why it may make you feel good

New research has found that Facebook exposure is a learned response - similar to how children learn that misbehaving will lead to them receiving attention.

more lifestyle Updated: Aug 05, 2017 10:20 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International
Asian News International, Washington DC
Facebook,Social media,Facebook addiction
People associate using Facebook with positive feelings.(Shutterstock)

Over the last few years, social media usage has been a topic of hot debates.Research has found that addiction to social media increases feelings of isolation, and that dating apps like Tinder may lead to a low self-esteem. But take heart. It’s not all bad. A study has found that using Facebook frequently may make people feel good. The findings, conducted by Michigan State University in the US, indicated that even brief exposure to a Facebook-related image (logo, screenshot) can cause a pleasurable response in frequent social media users, which in turn might trigger social media cravings.

The combination of pleasant feelings and cravings makes social media too difficult to resist. Allison Eden and researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, conducted two studies of frequent and less frequent Facebook users. Eden stated that Facebook exposure is a learned response - such as when children learn misbehaviour earns them attention or when dogs learn going to the bathroom outside earns them a treat - and learned responses are hard to break.

“People are learning this reward feeling when they get to Facebook,” she said. “What we show with this study is that even with something as simple as the Facebook logo, seeing the Facebook wall of a friend or seeing anything associated with Facebook, is enough to bring that positive association back.” In the first study, participants were exposed to a Facebook-related cue or a control picture, followed by a Chinese symbol.

They were then asked to judge whether the symbol was pleasant or unpleasant. After being exposed to a Facebook-inspired image, heavy Facebook users rated the Chinese image as pleasant with greater consistency than less frequent users. Then, in the second study, the participants were given a survey to measure their cravings to use Facebook. The study appears in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

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First Published: Aug 05, 2017 10:19 IST