How TikTok can harm brain functions

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A worldwide trend, TikTok has gained more and more fans. However, experts have a warning about this social network: the destructive potential for certain brain functions. The information comes mainly from a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Development.

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According to Post PhD in neurosciences and biologist, Dr. Fabiano de Abreu Agrela, responsible for the study in question, what happens is that the social network can generate an addiction to rewards in the brain, causing hormonal imbalances that reduce the ability to concentrate and can trigger anxiety and depression.

“Currently, the excessive use of social networks guided by speed, where short-term content is endlessly provided based on your tastes and needs, identified via algorithm, mold brain chemistry, generating an addiction to the dopamine generated by these ‘pleasure pills’ , causing mental fatigue”, explains the researcher.

According to the expert, mental fatigue prevents the brain from completing tasks, such as reading a book, studying, cleaning the house or cooking, replacing it with other activities before its full completion, since the organ is used to replacing stimuli. by stronger ones in just a swipe of the fingers — and that ends up affecting reality, reducing capabilities.

The scientist reiterates that doses of dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to sensations of pleasure) are released in the brain as a reward system for pleasurable activities. The problem is that the use of social networks trivializes this release, addicting the brain to dopamine.

The effect is as follows: the brain starts to demand higher doses of dopamine and stops tasks in half as soon as the doses of dopamine supplied by it are reduced. In practice, this process impairs attention, focus, concentration, memory, learning and several other functions of the brain.

Previously, studies have shown that using social media can affect teenagers’ brains, as they can become more sensitive to anticipating social rewards and punishments over time. So audiences that grow up checking the media more often are becoming hypersensitive to feedback from others.

Researchers from Zhejiang University (China) have already tried to understand why TikTok is addictive, and how short videos act on your brain: through a sensation of pleasure and satisfaction in the body, specifically activating the ventral tegmental area (VTA), one of the main centers of dopamine release.