TEXTO PARA A QUESTÃO
A study carried out by Lauren Sherman of the University of California and her colleagues investigated how use of the “like” button in social media affects the brains of teenagers lying in body scanners.
Thirty-two teens who had Instagram accounts were asked to lie down in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. This let Dr. Sherman monitor their brain activity while they were perusing both their own Instagram photos and photos that they were told had been added by other teenagers in the experiment. In reality, Dr. Sherman had collected all the other photos, which included neutral images of food and friends as well as many depicting risky behaviours like drinking, smoking and drug use, from other peoples’ Instagram accounts. The researchers told participants they were viewing photographs that 50 other teenagers had already seen and endorsed with a “like” in the laboratory.
The participants were more likely themselves to “like” photos already depicted as having been “liked” a lot than they were photos depicted with fewer previous “likes”. When she looked at the fMRI results, Dr. Sherman found that activity in the nucleus accumbens, a hub of reward circuitry in the brain, increased with the number of “likes” that a photo had.
The Economist, June 13, 2016. Adaptado.