PEOPLE hooked on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have some of the same behaviours as drug addicts, a new study has found.
US scientists conducting a gambling experiment found a connection between excessive social media use and risky decision making, a common feature of drug addiction.
The Michigan State University study asked 71 participants to take part in a survey designed to measure their psychological dependence on Facebook.
Questions asked about their pre-occupation with the platform, their feelings when unable to use it, attempts to quit the site, and the impact Facebook had on their jobs or studies.
Participants were then asked to take part in the Iowa Gambling Task, a method of assessing decision-making and risky behaviour widely used by psychologists.
The task involves identifying outcome patterns in decks of cards to choose the best possible deck.
The researchers found that the worse people performed by choosing from bad decks, the more excessively they were likely to use social media.
Those who did better at the task were less social media dependent.
The results mirrored those from other studies showing that people who abuse heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine produce similar outcomes in the gambling task.
Lead researcher Dr Dar Meshi explained: “Decision making is oftentimes compromised in individuals with substance use disorders.
“They sometimes fail to learn from their mistakes and continue down a path of negative outcomes. But no one previously looked at this behaviour as it relates to excessive social media users, so we investigated this possible parallel between excessive social media users and substance abusers.
“While we didn’t test for the cause of poor decision-making, we tested for its correlation with problematic social media use.”
He said he hoped the findings can shed some light on how social media is truly affecting us.
MOST READ IN TECH
“I believe that social media has tremendous benefits for individuals, but there’s also a dark side when people can’t pull themselves away.
“We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social media use should be considered an addiction.”
The findings were published in the Journal of Behaviour Addictions.
- GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.