Silence is golden. Writen words matter. And TikTok is hypnosis.

Adam Mac
5 min readMay 8, 2021

We live in a noisy and distracting world. Social media notifications, advertising, news updates, and coworkers buzzing around us all day is causing our brains to shift into overdrive. There has been a lot of talk about how this constant input of noise has been negatively impacting us physically and mentally.

A recent study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco was one of the largest medical studies to date on how social media affects our brains. The study followed over 300 people with an average age of 35 and reported that those who spent more time on social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter exhibited “marked differences in brain structure”.

“Participants in the study were shown hundreds of images designed to induce positive, negative, or neutral emotions.” The images included famous vacation photos and other harmless pictures. At the end of each day participants were asked to recall their visual experience from the day before. Their brains were scanned using MRI machine.

The results were surprising. Those who spent more time on social media sites “had greater gray matter volume in the amygdala, a region of the brain associated with emotional processing and risk for anxiety disorders.” The amygdala is a small part of the brain and plays an important role in processing fear, anger, pleasure, emotions and memory. The more time spent on Facebook the more active this area became causing the risk of developing anxiety or depression to increase by 25%.

But it’s not just social media that’s the culprit. Constant exposure to advertisements might have your amygdala working overtime too. A study conducted at Northwestern University was found that when participants were shown pictures of food their brains immediately reacted differently than when shown pictures of non-food items.

A “well-known brain circuit” was activated when participants were shown pictures of food. “This circuit, called the reward system, is the network that drives us to eat and that is responsible for our experiences with pleasure and craving.” Those same participants were then shown ads with various images of food and were asked to imagine eating them. The reward system again was activated in their brains. They began…

Adam Mac AI analyst & tech enthusiast | Focused on AI's societal & policy implications | Driving dialogue on AI's role in our future