Three ways using Twitter changes your brain

Your brain on twitter

Twitter wanted to show the effectiveness of ad campaigns on the social network. When trying to come up with methods for testing they turned to neuroscience and the findings are fascinating.

In one of the first studies participants were hooked up to sweat and pulse rate monitors as well as eye tracking goggles. These instruments would measure their responses and track how engaged they were while watching a basketball tournament. Half were allowed to use a device to tweet while half were to remain deviceless.

Those allowed to tweet saw higher results across the board. Twitter were pleased but wanted to know more.

Using an Australian company called Neuro-Insight they set out to measure the brain activity of participants while they used Twitter. Using a technology called Steady-State Topography (SST) they measured the processing speed of different parts of the brain.

Alternating between standard web surfing and using Twitter, the one hundred and fourteen participants were monitored using the SST.

The results were dramatic.

1. When measuring a neural signal that tends to correlate with information relating to you, or ‘a sense of personal relevance’, a 27% boost was found when just passively browsing Twitter compared to standard web use. When the participants were actively using twitter – tweeting and retweeting – their sense of personal relevance increased by a massive 51%.

2. Measuring the parts of the brain known to be active in emotion saw a boost of 64% for passive Twitter use and 75% for active use.

3. Finally, when looking at memory the researchers found that passive Twitter use saw 34% and active use saw 56% increases in areas of the brain linked to memory formation.

Perhaps this in part explains why brands who engage on social media tend to enjoy higher brand loyalty than their rivals? Feelings of ‘personal relevance’ will be linked with the output of brands and the ads seen.

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