Teenagers find social media likes as rewarding as chocolates

first_imgFor the study, the researchers from the University of California – Los Angeles observed activation in the brain’s reward regions when teenagers saw their photos with a large number of likes. 32 teenagers, aged 13-18, were told they were participating in a small social network similar to the popular photo-sharing app, Instagram. In an experiment, the researchers showed them 148 photographs on a computer screen for 12 minutes, including 40 photos that each teenager submitted, and analysed their brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Each photo also displayed the number of likes it had supposedly received from other teenage participants – in reality, the number of likes was assigned by the researchers. “When the teenagers saw their own photos with a large number of likes, we saw activity across a wide variety of regions in the brain,” said lead author Lauren Sherman. A region that was especially active, is a part of the striatum called the nucleus accumbens, which is part of the brain’s reward circuitry, she said. This reward circuitry is thought to be particularly sensitive during adolescence.  The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.last_img