Impulsive Decision Making Tied to Facebook Addiction

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Trending News: Link between Facebook use and impulsive choices found in study

Do you ever make quick decisions you later regret? Do you buy things you can’t afford without giving it much thought? Hoping to create positive change in the area of decision making?

If the answer is yes, you might want to examine your social media usage. That’s because a new study suggests people who are addicted to Facebook are more likely to make impulsive decisions.

Investigators have published their findings in the journal Addiction Research and Theory. In it, they discuss their study of 75 college students from a Midwestern university who took an assessment called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale.

The results suggest people addicted to the social media behemoth were more likely to display delay discounting. You may be wondering what that term means exactly?

It’s simple. Delay discounting is when you opt for a smaller, quicker reward as opposed to waiting for a larger reward in the future. In the study, participants were asked if they wanted $70.00 now or $200.00 in 14 days (2 weeks).

Participants who said they used Facebook to distract from personal problems tried to cut down their usage without much success.

In fact, they reported using Facebook so much that it negatively impacted their school studies and jobs – and were more apt to prefer the quick $70.00 as opposed to the $200 later.

Related: Mindfulness can help impulsive spending

“I’m not surprised to see the results of this study. We’ve known for some time now that frequent social media usage has a negative impact on delayed gratification,” said Tyler Fortman, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist who Guy Counseling spoke to about the findings. “But do people see the link?” he added.

The author’s shared the following about their investigation: “Steep delay discounting, or a preference for smaller immediate rewards instead of investing in a larger payout in the future, has been an observed behavior across addictions.” They go on to add, “This finding thus strengthens the proposition that [social media addiction] may share neurocognitive processes similar to other addictions.”

Generalizing the results to the larger population is difficult, given this study’s small sample size. More research needs to be done in the future to make stronger determinations.

Are you addicted to Facebook? Can you draw a line between impulsive behaviors and time spent on social media?

About MJ Duff 43 Articles
Marie-Jones Duff is a Los Angeles based freelance multimedia journalist and frequent traveler with a fondness for all things bizarre and nerdy. Look for posts that focus on everything from men's fashion to science.