A scientist has revealed he thinks people are addicted to social media due to the evolution of our brains.
According to Professor Bruce Hood, the amount of ‘grey matter’ in our brains has been steadily increasing over generations.
The award-winning American psychologist suggests in his latest book – Domesticated Brain – that the change happened because we need bigger brains to deal with more and more complex social situations.
He says that while our hunter-gatherer predecessors were geared up for a constant battle to survive, we no longer need to be, reports the Mirror.
Now we have evolved into ‘natural gossips’ who constantly need to engage with other people – and social media allows us to do this on a larger scale.
Professor Hood said:
The fact that many people have a compulsion to engage with lots of people via social media isn’t really that surprising.
He also makes another very interesting point. You would think that the wider exposure to different views on social media would make people more open-minded.
However, the professor says that in fact what we see is something completely different:
What we see in reality of course is the opposite. People seem more likely to slot into niche groups of thought online than in real life.
In Domesticated Brain, he suggests that the human brain began to shrink around the time that we stopped being hunter-gatherers and began farming.
He says that as people settled into fixed communities, their brains relaxed and the idea of not needing to outwit everyone became stronger.
This in turn opened up more scope for higher thinking and marked the beginnings of a ‘group intelligence’ – when we started passing knowledge down through the generations.
So there you go – the more time you spend glued to social media, the more highly evolved you are, apparently.