Facebook isn't a brain-drainer, it's a brain-changer
Danika Wilkinson
at 13:35 PM Oct 19 2011
Brainbook: Can Facebook affect brain size or were you born popular?

Scientists have discovered a link between Facebook friends and brain size, suggesting social networking could possibly change your brain - or that some people are just 'hard-wired' to make more friends.

Four brain areas, which are known to play a role in memory, emotional responses and social interactions, are larger in those with longer friend lists. But the English scientists say that so far, it i snot possible to say whether Facebook is a brain-changer.

"The exciting question now is whether these structures change over time -- this will help us answer the question of whether the Internet is changing our brains," Ryota Kanai of University College London (UCL), one of the researchers involved in the study, told News Daily.

The team of scientists used magnetic resonance imaging, more commonly known as MRI, to study the brains of Facebook-addicted 125 university students. They then cross examined the brain scans with those of a further 40 not-so-addicted, or non-using, students.

What they found was a correlation between the number of Facebook friends and the amount of 'grey matter' in the amygdala, the right superior temporal sulcus, the left middle temporal gyrus and the right entorhinal cortex. Or, in layman's terms, some fairly useful parts of the brain. 

Grey matter is the layer of tissue where mental processing occurs, and its thickness, specifically in the amygdala, was also linked to the number of 'real-word' friends a person has. In the other three areas, the connection between grey matter thickness and friends applied to online only.

Technically, if the research is proven, we could scan a person's brain and find out how long they spend interacting online, and how long they communicate in the real world.

[News Daily]

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