CCS was pleased to host Dr. Mirella Dapretto last week who spoke about recent research regarding social media and the brain.
Dr. Dapretto shared that we still know very little as to what effect different types of media use has on the developing population - our children! Two major systems in the brain were discussed - the cognitive control system that involves frontal regions and the reward system that includes sub-cortical regions such as the nucleus accumbens. Their activation patterns are being studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Research shows that regions associated with rewards and positive emotions light up in the brain when avid Facebook users view the Facebook logo. Interestingly enough, a UCLA study found that computer-savvy adults show greater overall brain activation than adults with an "internet naive brain", one who has never maneuvered through the web. These findings suggest that web searching activity may help stimulate and improve brain function. Further research is required to determine if other similar relationships are seen in the developing population as this is the generation in which children are using screens the most than any other generation!
We are grateful that Dr. Dapretto joined the CCS community for this discussion. UCLA invites you to participate in a few studies that aim to explore this relationship between social media and the developing brain. More information about those opportunities is below: