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Facebook is good for you

first_imgNew research has claimed that Facebook could actually be good for your mental state. The study found that “the successful spread of SNSs [social networking sites] might be associated with a specific positive affective state experienced by users.”The researchers wired up 30 students and monitored the reactions of their brain, blood pressure, skin conductance, pupil dilation and heart rate to gauge levels of excitement, arousal, stress and relaxation. They found that three minutes looking at Facebook had significantly different  effects to three minutes spent looking at panoramic landscapes  or a complicated mathematical problem.The landscapes relaxed students the most, and the maths tasks were most stressful. However the social networkers experienced high levels of arousal and excitement. Baroness Susan Greenfield, distinguished scientist and Oxford University professor, commented that the findings “sit entirely with my theory that social networking stimulates the reward pathways in the brain. It would explain the appeal.”She has pointed out however that Facebook could have psychological drawbacks, expressing worry about “declines in empathy” and the promotion of the self as a “commodity.”She added, “I see no evil in social networking per se: it’s when it monopolises someone that it becomes the problem. Social networking in itself is not bad for the brain, but you have to look at the context in which it’s used, and for how often each day.”Psychology student Merabi Chkhenkeli explained, “We experience a varying amount of stresses and natural highs throughout the day, and the positive effects of a quick scroll through Facebook are likely to be insignificant in comparison to the long term effects associated with frequent use of Facebook. Facebook can be both a great tool and a great distraction.”Whether Facebook makes students happy or not, it is considered indispensable by many. Alice Goldman, a Hertford first year, stated, “Facebook makes me worried that it will one day control my life, but sadly it’s too useful to give up.”Rebecca Schofield, a finalist at Somerville, told Cherwell, “I once tried to cut back on my Facebook, getting more time for sleep and a social life instead, but I soon discovered that I had nothing to talk to my friends about, as I simply knew nothing of their lives.“I instead decided long ago to replace my social life with Facebook. I get all of the gossip and none of the awkward human interaction. I find myself trying to ‘like’ things people say in real life; sure, it’s a strange side effect, but not as bad as when I went through my twitter phase and made all my essays 140 characters.”last_img read more

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