A recent research seem to indicate that there is a correlation between the number of online social networking friends a person has and the size of certain brain regions of that individual. Of course, it can’t determine whether one is causing another variable to change. But researchers plan to keep monitoring this study.
Relationship between Number of Facebook friends and Brain
This research studied the brain regions of 125 university students who have on average 300 facebook friends. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology was utilized to look at their brains. They discovered strong correlation between number of facebook brains and the amount of grey matter in four brain regions: Amygdala, Right Temporal Sulcus, Left Middle Temporal Gyrus and Right Entorhinal Cortex.
Among these four brain regions, size of grey matter in Amygdala was also linked to number real friends, that is friends in real life, as well. Amygdala is known to control all our emotions and to some extent memory too.
Sulci and Gyri helps increase our brain surface area. Sulcus are the grooves or fissures, where as Gyrus are the ridges or bumps. Right Temporal sulcus helps perceive moving objects as animate or a biological object; it is known to be defective in certain type of autism. Left Middle Temporal gyrus is related to memory and navigation. Right entorhinal cortex deals with perception of social cues; it tends to become active and vigilant when we realize other people are noting us.
Women has more white matter, whereas male as more grey matter. Grey matter includes dendrites and cell body for synpases. White matter includes axons takes take neuronal signals away; therefore it is coated with myelin sheath so the signals get transmitted properly without losing on the way. White matter is said to be more involved in language and speech areas which are controlled by Broca and Wernicke, respectively.
In our brain, white matter tend are present in internal surface and grey matter external. In spinal cord, it goes opposite way. In lower vertebrate animals such as fish and reptiles, white matter is present in the outside area of both the brain and the spinal cord.
Warner, Judith. “Does Facebook Change Your Brain? – NYTimes.com.” Parenting, Children and Parents – Motherlode Blog – NYTimes.com. New York Times. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/does-facebook-change-your-brain/>.
Wire, The Atlantic. “Today in Research: Brain Size Affected by Facebook Friends; More – The Atlantic Wire – Life – The Atlantic.” The Atlantic — News and Analysis on Politics, Business, Culture, Technology, National, International, and Life – TheAtlantic.com. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. <http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/10/today-in-research-brain-size-affected-by-facebook-friends-more/246923/>.