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Facebook Psychology

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The editors at Best Masters in Psychology decided to research the topic of

Facebook Psychology: is addiction affecting our minds?

Notification Abuse

- Reward center of the brain- every ping could be a social, sexual, or professional opportunity resulting in a hit of dopamine for answering the 'ding' of a notification.
- Similar to Crack, Heroin, Meth and other abusive substances - each hit recharges our addictive compulsion.
- "Cumulatively, the effect is potent and hard to resist." -MIT media scholar Judith Donath

Multiple Profile Disorder

- Are our digital selves legitimate, pathological "alter of sorts?"
- Stanford Dr. Aboujaoude has begun testing on internet addicts and finding startling results.
- "I might as well have been ... administering the questionnaire to Sybil Dorsett!" (patient 0 for multiple personality disorder) -Dr. Aboujaoude

Brain scans of Web Veterans vs Web n00bs

- Web veterans display fundamentally altered prefrontal cortexes.
- n00bs got online for 5 hours total over the next week and rescanned their brains.
- "The naive subjects had already rewired their brains," -Gary Small, head of UCLA's Memory and Aging Research Center
- Internet 'addicts' have 10-20% smaller brain areas responsible for: speech, memory, motor control, emotion, sensory, and other information.
- more time spent online, more brain signs of "atrophy" in these areas
- people with significantly more facebook friends tend to have larger orbital prefrontal cortexes, [visually, area of brain behind the eyes] the area for social behavior and emotion.

Average user's friends on facebook: 229

Chicken or Egg? - Do brains alter because of the internet, or are people with altered brains more drawn to the internet? Further Study is required to prove either theory.

- Web use often displaces sleep, exercise, and face-to-face exchanges, all of which can upset even the chirpiest soul.
- Case Western Reserve University correlated heavy texting and social-media use with stress, depression, and suicidal thinking.
- "fosters our obsessions, dependence, and stress reactions...encourages - and even promotes - insanity." - Larry Rosen, psychologist specialist in effects of the net

Internet Addiction section

- China, Taiwan, and Korea recently accepted Internet Addiction Disorder [IAD] as a psychological diagnosis.
- As much as 30% of teens in these countries are considered Internet-addicted, mostly to social media, and online gaming.
- IAD is being treated as "a grave national health crisis"
- Researchers in Taiwan linked ADHD and hostility to Internet addiction in children
- Taiwanese researchers also found depression and social phobia were predictive indicators of internet addiction in girls.
- 2013 will mark Internet Addiction as a 'real' disorder in the States as well
- Internet Addiction Disorder [IAD] will be included in the (DSM-V) "bible of Psychology"
- albeit tagged for "further study."
- defined:
- "preoccupation" with the internet or internet gaming (starting at 38 hours a week)
- withdrawal symptoms when internet is not available
- tolerance (spending more time to achieve the same "high")
- loss of other interests
- unsuccessful attempts to control use
- use of internet to improve or escape dysphoric mood.
- Is it a coincidence?

As we get more connected, we seem to lose focus?

- 2000 vs 2012 aka pre-social & pre-mobile vs social & mobile
- US Internet users has risen 127% [2000: 108.1million 2012: 245.2 million]
- Teens spending time in front of a screen has risen 104% [from 3.43 hrs/day to 7 hrs/day]
- Counting multitasking with multiple screens at once teen screentime has risen 221% [3.43 hrs/day to 11 hrs/day]
- The US average attention span has dropped 40%
- ADHD has risen 66% in the US

Treatment level: Difficult

- Internet is too much a part of business, society, and education to quit cold-turkey for most people.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the recommended treatment
- Treatment Goals:
- Abstinence from problematic applications,
- Retaining controlled use of the computer for legitimate purposes
- Increased motivation
- improved social relationships
- improved sexual functioning
- engagement in off-line activities