Facebook usage on smartphones and gray matter volume of the nucleus accumbens

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Abstract

A recent study has implicated the nucleus accumbens of the ventral striatum in explaining why online-users spend time on the social network platform Facebook. Here, higher activity of the nucleus accumbens was associated with gaining reputation on social media. In the present study, we touched a related research field. We recorded the actual Facebook usage of N = 62 participants on their smartphones over the course of five weeks and correlated summary measures of Facebook use with gray matter volume of the nucleus accumbens. It appeared, that in particular higher daily frequency of checking Facebook on the smartphone was robustly linked with smaller gray matter volumes of the nucleus accumbens. The present study gives additional support for the rewarding aspects of Facebook usage. Moreover, it shows the feasibility to include real life behavior variables in human neuroscientific research.

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