PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Those who frequently check Facebook tend to have less gray matter in their brains according to a new study.
The study was published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.
Researchers concluded that it appeared that those who checked Facebook more frequently on their smartphone, had smaller gray matter volumes of nucleus accumbens.
One of the study’s authors, Christian Montag of Ulm University, told PsyPost, “smartphones, Facebook – in short the digital world – is a major part of our lives. A better neuroscientific understanding of digital usage is of importance to also understand how our brains react and are shaped by digital societies.”
Researchers say nucleus accumbens is a small structure located deep in the center of the brain. It plays an important role in addiction.
Researchers in the study said “the users of smartphones are checking their Facebook account in expectation of ‘likes’, nice comments, etc.” PsyPost reported.
Researchers reportedly recruited 46 men and 39 women for the study and used an MRI scan to examine the structure of the brain.
Participants had the Facebook app installed on their phones to record how long they spent on Facebook and how often they checked Facebook every day for five weeks.
Researchers say they found that participants who opened Facebook more frequently or who stayed on the social media app longer tended to have reduced gray matter.
They couldn’t say if less gray matter led to more Facebook use or if using Facebook led to less gray matter.