What Social Media Does To Your Brain
- Majid Fotuhi
The average person spends over 3 hours on their phone each day, including approximately 2 and a half hours on social media. While it may seem like a harmless pastime, research shows that doing anything repeatedly for extended amounts of time can cause physiological changes in the brain. This begs the question, what is social media actually doing to our brains?
Changes in Attention
Social media has the;ability to both capture and scatter your attention. With a simple refresh, constant new information is at your fingertips. Through a process called variable-ratio reinforcement, you are constantly excited and rewarded to see fresh new posts.
Studies show this ability to capture your attention has an adverse effect on your brain. Two and a half hours of social media is about the same amount of time it would take to drive to New York from Philadelphia, run a half marathon, or watch any of the Harry Potter movies. While the thought of seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione every single day might sound like a good thing to you, what you do each day can change your brains structure and how it processes information.
Changes in Reward Pathways
Changes in Memory Processes
Research also shows that heavy social media use is linked with memory deficits, especially in your transactive memory. This kind of memory involves deciding what information is important enough to store in your brain and what information can be outsourced.
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The Lobes Of The Brain
Each hemisphere of the cerebrum is divided into four lobes: frontal, temporal, occipital and parietal. The frontal lobes are the largest sections of the brain and make up the front portion of the cerebrum. The frontal lobes are the main thought processing center and control reasoning, problem solving, decision making, language and personality traits.
The temporal lobes are found on the sides of the brain, just above the ears. This part of the brain is responsible for short-term memory, understanding speech and recognizing sounds. Together with the frontal lobes, they identify and process smells.
The back portion of the cerebrum are the occipital lobes, which control vision. Lying interior to the frontal, temporal and occipital lobes are the parietal lobes. The parietals are the sensory processing center of the brain and are responsible for spoken language and learning.
What Are The Three Lobes Of The Cerebellum
The cerebellum’s hemispheres are each divided into three lobes: the anterior lobe, posterior lobe, and the flocculonodular lobe. These lobes are split up by two fissures , called the primary fissure and the posterolateral fissure.
The three lobes of the Cerebellum, where purple is the anterior lobe, green is the posterior lobe and orange is the Flocculonodular lobe./Database Center for Life Science/Wikimedia Commons
Unlike the cerebral cortex, there are no clear separation of functions in the cerebellar cortex. The best way to identify the tasks are by the information each section processes.
The Database Center for Life Science/Wikimedia Commons
The anterior lobe and the vermis together are known as the spinocerebellum. The spinocerebellum helps regulate muscle tone and body movement. It’s also responsible for our sense of our body’s position in relation to our surroundings, and in relation to other parts of our body . This area receives input from our spinal cord, auditory and visual systems.
The Database Center for Life Science/Wikimedia Commons
The posterior lobe is called the cerebrocerebellum. This area is responsible for planning movements that are about to happen, managing sensory information to determine action and motor learning. It receives information from the cerebral cortex .
The Database Center for Life Science/Wikimedia Commons
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How Does The Nervous System Work
The basic workings of the nervous system depend a lot on tiny cells called neurons. The brain has billions of them, and they have many specialized jobs. For example, sensory neurons send information from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to the brain. Motor neurons carry messages away from the brain to the rest of the body.
All neurons, however, relay information to each other through a complex electrochemical process, making connections that affect the way we think, learn, move, and behave.
Intelligence, learning, and memory.;As we grow and learn, messages travel from one neuron to another over and over, creating connections, or pathways, in the brain. Its why driving takes so much concentration when someone first learns it, but later is second nature: The pathway became established.
In young children, the brain is highly adaptable. In fact, when one part of a young childs brain is injured, another part often can learn to take over some of the lost function. But as we age, the brain has to work harder to make new neural pathways, making it harder to master new tasks or change set behavior patterns. Thats why many scientists believe its important to keep challenging the brain to learn new things and make new connections it helps keeps the brain active over the course of a lifetime.
Smell. Olfactory cells in the mucous membranes lining each nostril react to chemicals we breathe in and send messages along specific nerves to the brain.
What Are Thinking Skills
Memory is often the first thinking skill that comes to mind, but there are many more, for example:
- paying attention to tasks at hand
- vocabulary and language skills
Together, our thinking skills give us our identity and sense of self, and enable us to engage with the world around us.
My brain is the most important thing I own and I intend to take care of it.
Lissa, 84 | Coventry
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Food And Waste Transport
The cerebrospinal fluid is responsible for bringing in nutrients and removing waste in the brain and spinal cord. It is found in the meninges layers and is moved through the brain by ventricles.
The brain’s four main ventricles help the cerebrospinal fluid nourish and cleanse the brain. They also cushion the brain from injury.
What Are The Main Parts Of The Brain
There are three main parts of the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum and the brain stem.
Was I A Bee/Wikimedia Commons
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. Located in the front and middle part of the brain, it accounts for 85% of the brain’s weight. Of the three main parts of the brain, the cerebrum is considered the most recent to develop in human evolution. The cerebrum is responsible for all voluntary actions , communication, emotions, creativity, intelligence and personality.
What Are the Main Parts of the Cerebrum?
The cerebrum’s structure is made up of:
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The Brain Acts As A Highly Complex Communication System
In the grey matter, the brain cell bodies generate information in the form of electrical signals and the axons carry the signals to other cells. White matter tracts connect different parts of the cerebral cortex and other structures, allowing communication across the brain network.
In this way, information is carried around the brain itself and, via the spinal cord and nervous system, to and from every other part of the body, e.g. muscles, glands and sensory organs .
- The average adult brain contains around 100 billion brain cells.
- Each is connected to around 1,000 others.
- Thats 100 trillion connections.
- There are billions of axons in the brain, but only a handful of primary white matter tracts.
The Cerebellum’s Left And Right Hemispheres
The cerebellum also has two hemispheres: the left cerebellar hemisphere and the right cerebellar hemisphere. Just as the longitudinal fissure divides the cerebrum’s hemispheres, the “vermis” separates the cerebellum’s hemispheres.
Cerebellar hemispheres seen from front and back / The Database Center for Life Science/Wikimedia Commons
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Seizures And Memory Networks
2016 study in rats looked at how seizure-like activity impacted memory consolidation. Memory function can be affected in some types of epilepsy, including temporal lobe epilepsy.
Memory consolidation normally happens during sleep and involves small ripples of activity in the hippocampus, the area of the brain concerned with memory.
These ripples can be followed by activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area involved in higher-level cognitive functions.
In people with temporal lobe epilepsy, short bursts of electrical activity called IEDs can happen between seizures. The researchers wanted to see if these abnormal bursts of electrical activity impacted memory in rats. They found that:
- Stimulating IEDs in rats led to impaired memory in a maze-solving activity.
- The effect on memory increased with the amount of IEDs that a rat experienced.
- IEDs beginning in the hippocampus were followed by electrical activity in the prefrontal cortex. This happened while the rats were both asleep and awake.
- A similar pattern of activity was seen when observing 4 individuals with epilepsy and IEDs.
The researchers believe that IEDs can disrupt normal signaling for memory consolidation. In short, IEDs from the hippocampus may impact how the prefrontal cortex responds to signaling from this area, potentially affecting memory.
Show/hide Words To Know
Disorder: something that is not in order. Not arranged correctly. In medicine a disorder is when something in the body is not working correctly.
Electroencephalogram: visual recording showing the electrical activity of the brain …;more
Emotion: any of a long list of feelings a person can have such as joy, anger and love…;more
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The Limbic System Or Emotional Center
The list of structures that make up the limbic system are not agreed upon.
Four of the main regions of the limbic systems include:
- The amygdala
- Regions of the limbic cortex
- The septal area
These structures relay between the limbic system and the hypothalamus, thalamus, and cerebral cortex. The hippocampus is important in memory and learning. While the limbic system itself is central in the control of emotional responses.
What Is The Difference Between The Brain And The Mind
The brain is an organ but the mind isnt. The brain is the physical place where the mind resides. The mind is the manifestations of thought, perception, emotion, determination, memory and imagination that takes place within the brain. Mind is often used to refer especially to the thought processes of reason.
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Conflict Of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Warren, D. E., Kurczek, J., and Duff, M. C. 2016. What relates newspaper, definite, and clothing? An article describing deficits in convergent problem solving and creativity following hippocampal damage. Hippocampus 26:83540. doi:10.1002/hipo.22591
Fink, A., Grabner, R. H., Benedek, M., Reishofer, G., Hauswirth, V., Fally, M., et al. 2009. The creative brain: investigation of brain activity during creative problem solving by means of EEG and fMRI. Hum. Brain Mapp. 30:73448. doi:10.1002/hbm.20538
Which Is The Smallest Part Of Brain
The midbrain is the smallest region of the brain, and is located most centrally within the cranial cavity. Limbic System the limbic system is often referred to as our emotional brain, or childish brain. It is found buried within the cerebrum and contains the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala and hippocampus.
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Major Structures And Functions Of The Brain
Outside the specialized world of neuroanatomy and for most of the uses of daily life, the brain is more or less an abstract entity. We do not experience our brain as an assembly of physical structures ; if we envision it at all, we are likely to see it as a large, rounded walnut, grayish in color.
This schematic image refers mainly to the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer that overlies most of the other brain structures like a fantastically wrinkled tissue wrapped around an orange. The preponderance of the cerebral cortex is actually a recent development in the course of evolution. The cortex contains the physical structures responsible for most of what we call brainwork : cognition, mental imagery, the highly sophisticated processing of visual information, and the ability to produce and understand language. But underneath this layer reside many other specialized structures that are essential for movement, consciousness, sexuality, the action of our five senses, and moreall equally valuable to human existence. Indeed, in strictly biological terms, these structures can claim priority over the cere-
Suggested Citation:Discovering the BrainSuggested Citation:Discovering the Brain
Some Key Neurotransmitters At Work
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that brain cells use to talk to each other. Some neurotransmitters make cells more active while others block or dampen a cell’s activity .
Acetylcholine is an;excitatory neurotransmitter;because it generally makes cells more excitable. It governs muscle contractions and causes glands to secrete hormones. Alzheimers disease, which initially affects memory formation, is associated with a shortage of acetylcholine.
Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter. Too much glutamate can kill or damage neurons and has been linked to disorders including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, seizures, and increased sensitivity to pain.
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps control muscle activity and is an important part of the visual system. Drugs that increase GABA levels in the brain are used to treat epileptic seizures and tremors in patients with Huntingtons disease.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that constricts blood vessels and brings on sleep. It is also involved in temperature regulation. Low levels of serotonin may cause sleep problems and depression, while too much serotonin can lead to seizures.
Dopamine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in mood and the control of complex movements. The loss of dopamine activity in some portions of the brain leads to the muscular rigidity of Parkinsons disease. Many medications used to treat behavioral disorders work by modifying the action of dopamine in the brain.
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Creativity Can Show Up Unexpectedly
Have you ever had an AHA! Momentone where an idea or solution came to you seemingly out of nowhere? This feeling, defined as insight and sometimes called an epiphany, is one form of creativity. Epiphanies also happen as what we call a eureka feeling. The eureka feeling actually refers to an ancient Greek scientist named Archimedes, who was tasked with figuring out how to determine whether a crown was made of solid gold or gold mixed with other metals, without breaking the crown. He actually discovered the solution while he was taking a bath! Archimedes noticed that the water level of the bath changed as he got in and out of the tub. He realized that he could calculate the volume of an object by submerging it in water . With the mass of the crown already established, Archimedes used the bath water method and the mass/volume = density equation to determine whether the gold crown was pure gold or had less dense metals added.
What Are The 4 Lobes Of The Brain
Database Center for Life Sciences/Wikimedia Commons
The cerebrum’s left and right hemispheres are each divided into four lobes: the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. The lobes generally handle different functions, but much like the hemispheres, the lobes don’t function alone. The lobes are separated from each other by depressions in the cortex known as sulcus and are protected by the skull with bones named after their corresponding lobes.
Cancer Research UK/Wikimedia Commons
The frontal lobe is located in the front of the brain, running from your forehead to your ears. It is responsible for problem-solving and planning, thought, behavior, speech, memory and movement. The frontal lobe is separated from the parietal lobe by the central sulcus and is protected by a singular frontal skull bone.
The parietal lobe picks up where the frontal lobe ends and goes until the mid-back part of the brain . It is responsible for processing information from the senses , as well as language interpretation and spatial perception. It is separated from the other lobes on all four sides: from the frontal lobe by central sulcus; from the opposite hemisphere by the longitudinal fissure; from the occipital lobe by parieto-occipital sulcus; and from the temporal lobe below by a depression known as the lateral sulcus, or lateral fissure. Because each hemisphere has a parietal lobe, there are two parietal skull bonesone on the external side of each hemisphere.
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What Part Of The Brain Controls Vision
The brain consists of four main segments called lobes. The frontal lobe up front, the parietal lobe on top, the temporal lobe on bottom and the occipital lobe pulling up the rear. All of our senses, thoughts and actions start in one of these lobes.
Most visual functions are controlled in the occipital lobe, a small section of the brain near the back of the skull. But processing eyesight is no simple task, so other parts of the brain have to pitch in too.
The Cerebrum And Cerebral Cortex
The cerebrum is the largest portion of the brain. It is covered in a thick layer of gray tissue called the cerebral cortex. Interior to the gray matter of the cerebral cortex is the white matter portion of the cerebrum. The white color comes from the layer of insulation called myelin that is on the neurons in this part of the brain.
The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres that are joined by a band of nerves which allow communication between the two halves. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
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