Facebook friends linked to grey matter in brain


London, Oct 19: With popular social networking site Facebook increasingly becoming a part and parcel of our lives, the impact of the site is manifold. A recent survey has revealed that the number of friends you have on Facebook is linked with a persons grey matter in his or her brain.

The research also revealed that the more online friends a person has, more likely are the chances that he has more 'real-world' friends.

Facebook, with a user base of 800 million active users worldwide, has nearly 30 million users in UK alone. In a statement given out by University College London (UCL), the size of an individual's network vary with some users having a few friends while others having more than a thousand friends.

Geraint Rees, professor at the UCL, and colleagues at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and the Welcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging studied the brain scans of 125 university students who were all Facebook users. They found an interesting link between the number of FB friends a person has with the a persons grey matter in several regions of the brain. Grey matter is that part of the brain where all the processing is done.

A recent study had revealed that there is more grey matter in the brain for those with a larger circle of friends. The same holds true for those with a robust network of online friends.

Rees has been quoted as saying, "Online social networks are massively influential, yet we understand very little about the impact they have on our brains. This has led to a lot of unsupported speculation that the internet is somehow bad for us. Our study will help us begin to understand how our interactions with the world are mediated through social networks."

He added, "This should allow us to start asking intelligent questions about the relationship between the internet and the brain - scientific questions, not political ones."

OneIndia News

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