7 Things Social Media Do to Control Our Minds

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7 Things Social Media Do to Control Our Minds

Photo by: Book Catalog via Flickr


Social media has provided wonderful benefits to our lives. It became a platform for us to connect with other people, share our ideas and opinions, and many more. However, previous studies have shown how social media changes our brains, both in positive and negative ways. A study published in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society: Biological Sciences found out that the web-based social networking site was associated with the structure of focal regions of the human brain.

However, social media was proven to have the ability to control our brain in ways that we didn’t know or expect. According to an article by ListVerse, an online site which features topics everything under the sun, several social media companies are hijacking our minds by exploiting psychological vulnerabilities to manipulate and control our time and attention. Here are some surprising things that social media do to control us.


Photo by: Book Catalog via Flickr


1 - It uses psychography to target people. 

The method of examining an individual’s personality is called psychographics. Just by analyzing 300 of the person’s Facebook “likes,” computers can predict an individual’s personality better than their family or close friends. For instance, studies found a high correlation between intelligence and liking “thunderstorms.” The company Cambridge Analytica was allowed by Facebook to use the method in targeting people with political ads adapted to their personalities.



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2 - Social media gives you phantom vibration syndrome.

Sometimes, we think that our phone buzzes but it didn’t. If you are frequently experiencing this, you are probably encountering the phantom vibration syndrome, a relatively new psychological phenomenon where you think you felt your phone go off but it actually didn’t happen. According to an article by AsapScience, a YouTube channel, a study reported that 89 percent of test subjects stated that they have experienced this at least once every two weeks. Our brains would often perceive this as an actual vibration from our phones.



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3 - Social media activates our brain’s reward center.

Most of the time, people crave for likes or positive feedbacks in their social media posts. During this process, our brain activates our reward center which is why social scrolling can be so addictive. A study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed: "Viewing photos with many (compared with few) likes was associated with greater activity in neural regions implicated in reward processing, social cognition, imitation, and attention.” 



Photo by: Book Catalog via Flickr


4 - Social media spies on you. 

Sometimes, we feel that someone is watching us when using social media. Maybe you’re right. Social media companies are selling our demographic information to advertisers to target us. For instance, Facebook has the power to track a person’s location and keep log histories of phone calls and texts. All the information social media sites gathered from us are used to target us with ads. 



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5 - Social media uses social reciprocity.

In social media, use mostly respond kindly to people who have treated them in a positive way. This method referred to as social reciprocity is being used by brands to make sales. For instance, charities are sending out personalized name tags to encourage people to donate money. These sites are exploiting people’s urge to reciprocate the positivity that someone has shown to them so they will be motivated to engage with their platforms.



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6 - Social media can make you a follower - not necessarily in a good way.

Spending too much time scrolling on social media sites may lose a person’s ability to think for themselves, thus, activating herd mentality. According to an article by Bustle, the premier digital destination for young women, herd mentality loses our ability to form our own opinions because we tend to believe what’s mainstream or what’s most popular. As a result, people would not be able to use their critical thinking skills because social media is controlling our opinions.



Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123rf


7 - Social media uses social proof.

Social media sites have the power to influence people’s behavior. For instance, a psychological phenomenon called social proof refers to individuals copying the actions of others in an attempt to perform the correct behavior in a situation. Social media platforms are encouraging users to stay active on their sites by continuously reminding them of the activities of their friends. Also, social media capitalizes on social proof by showing that you should be using those sites because others are using them.




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