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Profile of a social media addict: Do you fit the description?
Social media addiction may be on the rise. Surprisingly, there’s been very little research on it.
We know what personality traits lend towards a greater risk of alcohol or drug addiction. But what about social media addiction? Experts say too much time spent on such pages can actually have a substantial impact on mental health. Yet, surprisingly little research has gone into information technology (IT) addiction, of which social media addiction is but one component.
According to a recent Pew Research Center poll from January, 26% of American adults are nearly constantly online. More and more, one’s favorite social media platform becomes their interface for their online experiences. As a result, social media addiction may be on the rise. Because of this, researchers from Binghamton University in New York looked into what traits all social media addicts all have in common.
Assistant professor of information systems at the university, Isaac Vaghefi, was one coauthor on this study. He said in a press release, "There has been plenty of research on how the interaction of certain personality traits affects addiction to things like alcohol and drugs. We wanted to apply a similar framework to social networking addiction." He teamed up with Hamed Qahri-Saremi of DePaul University in Chicago, and the two went about surveying 300 college students. All the information collected was self-reported.
Research psychology is just starting to understand IT addiction(s). Credit: Getty Images.
Researchers asked participants questions about their social media use which included, "I sometimes neglect important things because of my interest in this social networking website," "When I am not using this social networking website, I often feel agitated," and "I have made unsuccessful attempts to reduce the time I interact with this social networking website."
Participants’ personalities were also evaluated through a commonly used metric known as the five-factor personality model. According to this well-established metric, these five factors comprise the human personality: conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to new experiences.
Two of these traits, extraversion and openness to new experiences, weren’t associated with social media addiction. Yet, neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were. It’s a certain combination of these traits that may make one more susceptible to an addiction to social media. Once they isolated the involved character traits, Vaghefi and Qahri-Saremi looked at how they interacted in certain combinations, and if these interactions increased or decreased one’s risk.
While some personality traits increase our risk of social media addiction, others have a moderating effect. Credit: Getty Images.
Neurosis (feelings of stress or anxiety) amplified one’s likelihood of such an addiction. Conversely, conscientiousness dampened it. Conscientiousness is considered being goal-oriented and having a high level of self-control. So what happens if you’re neurotic and conscientious? Researchers believe conscientiousness could have a moderating effect, dulling the pull of addiction, as long as the person practiced self-discipline often enough and periodically reached their goals. However, a high level of neurosis could neutralize conscientiousness’s moderating effect.
Agreeableness is defined as having a high level of friendliness and empathy toward others. Low levels of agreeableness—such as being inconsiderate or unsympathetic, could make one susceptible to social media addiction, researchers found. But this tendency was curbed when combined with conscientiousness. A low-level of both these traits however, could increase one’s addiction risk.
Perplexingly, those who had both high levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness were more prone to developing a social media addiction. Researchers explained it as a “rational addiction.” For them, it isn’t a compulsion or an impulsive decision, but a conscious one made to try and develop or deepen relationships.
Are you constantly thinking about what you’re going to post and how? Credit: Getty Images.
More research needs to be done to confirm these results. After all, the survey was only performed on one university’s campus. But these results, if corroborated, may help mental health professionals better administer to social media addicted patients. We might even find that different personality types are more prone to certain IT addictions.
How susceptible are you? Find out using the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale. Originally only applied to Facebook addiction, it has since been expanded to include all social networking sites.
The Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale
Read these six statements. For each, answer on a scale of 1-5. (1-very rarely, 2-rarely, 3-sometimes, 4-often, or 5-very often).
1. You spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning your posts.
2. You feel a need to use social media more and more.
3. You use social media in order to forget about problems in your personal life.
4. You have tried to cut down on social media use, without success.
5. You become anxious or restless when you aren’t able to use social media.
6. You use social media so often that it has a negative impact on your responsibilities (job-career/education/parenting/relationship).
If you scored a 4 or 5 (often or very often) on at least 4 statements, you may be experiencing social media addiction. If you believe you are, be sure and contact a certified mental health professional for a screening.
To learn more about social media addiction, click here.
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Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
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- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
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