When you update your status or post a picture on Facebook, truth is that you expect people to read and interact on it (come one let’s be honest here). So, when people actually do “like” your post, it make you feel good about yourself, it makes you feel appreciated, right? And that translates into a boost in your brain’s reward center.
Also Read: 10 Ways to Improve Engagement on Facebook
Well, in one of the first studies to connect social media use and brain imaging data, researchers led by Dar Meshi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Freie Universität in Berlin, showed how they could predict people’s Facebook use by looking at how their brain reacted to positive social feedback in a scanner:
Specifically, a region called the nucleus accumbens, which processes rewarding feelings about food, sex, money and social acceptance became more active in response to praise for oneself compared to praise of others. And that activation was associated with more time on the social media site.
Social affirmation tends to be one of life’s great joys, whether it occurs online or off, so it’s not surprising that it would light up this area.After all, who can say no to flattery and feeling good about ourselves? But, as it turns out, this social affirmation that comes when people like your status updates is addictive, which might help explain why people tend to spend so much time on Facebook:
On the social media site, the pleasure deriving from attention, kind words, likes, and LOLs from others occurs only sporadically. Such a pattern for rewards is far more addictive than receiving a prize every time, in part because the brain likes to predict rewards, and if it can’t find a pattern, it will fuel a behavior until it finds one. So if the rewards are random, the quest may continue compulsively.
And as Times concludes, Facebook may draw people in by making them feel connected— but it keeps them coming back because so many of us take pleasure in knowing that we’re liked.
- The Incredible Growth of Web Usage [infographic]
- Facebook Likes – What They Really Say About Who You Are [research]
- What Is The Age of Social Media Users