For others, they're ego-boosters fueled by the showering of praise via "likes" and comments from one's followers. According to a new international study, however, social media users who chase "likes" have thinking patterns similar to lab rats seeking food.
Data from last year shows that four billion people worldwide spent several hours each day on social media platforms prompting comparisons to addiction. In the hopes of finding out what drives social media junkies to spend so much of their waking day online, researchers analyzed more than a million posts from over 4,000 users.
Their findings suggest that the behavior of many users was consistent with "reward learning." This is a long-established psychological concept which says actions may be driven and reinforced by rewards.