Social media addiction blamed on brain size

7th Mar 16 | Fitness & Wellbeing

If you can't resist checking your Facebook several times a day, a top psychologist says you can blame the way our brains have developed.

Social media addiction blamed on brain size

Our social media addiction can apparently be linked to the way human brains have evolved, claims a top psychologist.

Many people find themselves checking Facebook several times a day, or constantly posting messages and photos online.

It has been suggested that the way our brains have developed over thousands of years has transformed us into gossips who can't resist engaging with other people - particularly now we no longer need to be 'hunter-gatherers' fighting for survival.

"The fact that many people have a compulsion to engage with lots of people via social media isn't really that surprising," award-winning American psychologist Professor Bruce Hood, who is promoting his latest book Domesticated Brain, is quoted as saying by MailOnline. "Our brains have evolved for us to be social animals.

Professor Hood said that what's interesting is that people might assume that the wider exposure to differing views that social media brings would make us all much more open-minded.

"What we see in reality of course is the opposite. People seem more likely to slot into niche groups of thought online than in real life," he said.

The expert explains that since the human race began millions of years ago, our brains have continued to increase in size and develop. However, around 20,000 years ago this growth came to a stop and our brains began to shrink. Professor Hood believes the change occurred because we are becoming more domesticated.

In his book, the psychologist claims that the reduction in brain size coincided with the time when humans gave up being hunter-gatherers and instead began to farm.

With people settling into communities and working together - rather than trying to outwit their neighbours to get food - social interaction became more important. This is also when we began to pass knowledge down to future generations.

As we developed over the years, our need to form bonds with other people became a necessity. In modern times social media such as Facebook and Twitter has satisfied this urge to connect with others.

© Cover Media Group 2016

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