Brain imbalance linked to impulsive FB posts
The impulsive act of checking Facebook while driving, during a meeting, or at other times that could have negative consequences is linked with a deficiency in the balance between two systems in the brain, scientists say.
The greater the imbalance between the two systems, the more likely individuals were to engage in problematic behaviours on social media, researchers said.
Researchers obtained responses from about 341 undergraduate college students who use Facebook.
They analysed data during one semester and then followed up with each student the next year to track their academic performance — in this case using grade point average — for both semesters and cumulatively.
They found that individuals who displayed higher levels of problematic use of Facebook had a strong cognitive-emotional preoccupation (system 1) and a weak cognitive-behavioural control (system 2), creating an imbalance.
System 1 is automatic and reactive, quickly triggered, often subconsciously, in reaction to stimulus such as a sight of or notifications from social media, said Hamed Qahri-Saremi of DePaul University.
System 2 is a reflective, reasoning system that moves more slowly, regulates cognitions, including the ones generated by system 1, and controls behaviours, he added.
The second system can help individuals control impulses and behaviours not in their best interest, he added. “A slight increase in problematic social media use can lead to significant grade loss. It was persistent — it remained one year after our initial study,” he added.