Social Networking Affects Brains Like Falling in Love
Adapted from an article by: Adam L. Penenberg
Paul J. Zak is a professor at Claremont Graduate University. He popularized “neuroeconomics,” an emerging field that combines economics with biology, neuroscience, and psychology to figure out why we do what we do. In a series of studies spanning nine years, Zak has changed our understanding of human beings as economic animals. Oxytocin is the key. Known for years as the hormone forging the unshakable bond between mothers and their babies, oxytocin is now recognized as the human stimulant of empathy, generosity, trust, and more. It is the “social glue” that adheres families, communities, and societies, and as such, acts as an “economic lubricant” that enables us to engage in all sorts of transactions. Are we biologically hardwired to constantly connect? Do our brains react to tweeting just as they do to our physical engagement with people we trust and enjoy? The FastCompany article describes three experiments. One in particular shows the release of oxytocin experienced while tweeting reduces stress hormones.
- Social networking might cut cardiovascular risks like heart attack and stroke. Both are associated with lack of social support.
- Your brain might interpret tweeting as face to face interactions with people you care about. Tweeting and other social networking interactions are processed in the brain as in-person connections.
- Tweeting in meetings for new ideas, new decisions and new actions might lighten the emotional load – people might feel better, closer, more intimate than they do now in meetings that don’t have social media in operation. Know of any research to the fact? Would be an interesting study.
Marci Segal, MS
Freeing leaders’ thinking so they can create new futures.
- Neuroscience Convention Explores Brain’s Frontiers – North County Times (nctimes.com)
- “Oxytocin love hormone fosters group trust and outsider ethnocentrism” and related posts (dosenation.com)
- Studies expand oxytocin’s role beyond ‘cuddle hormone’ (eurekalert.org)
- Is trust the new love drug? (astramatch.com)
- The dark side of Oxytocin (NYtimes.com)