Study Suggests Facebook Better for the Brain Than Twitter

    September 8, 2009
    Chris Crum

Results from a recent study indicate that Facebook may actually be good for your brain, while services like Twitter and YouTube may not be, at least when it comes to the part of the brain that deals with memory.

The study was led by Dr. Tracy Alloway, Director of the Centre for Memory and Learning in the Lifespan at the University of Sterling in Scotland. Alloway has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and has worked on several government-funded projects dealing with memory and learning.

Tracy Alloway"My research interest is in how working memory impacts learning in typically developing children, as well as in those with ADHD, Autism, Language Impairments, Dyspraxia, and Learning Disabilities," says Alloway. "I have numerous international collaborations to investigate whether assessments of working memory are culture-fair, or if a child’s background, as indexed by language, culture, and income differences, mediates the relationship between working memory and learning."

According to Alloway, keeping up with friends on Facebook stretches the working memory in a way that Twitter and YouTube cannot do. "On Twitter you receive an endless stream of information, but it’s also very succinct," Alloway is quoted as saying. "You don’t have to process that information." She applies the same rationale to texting.

"Your attention span is being reduced and you’re not engaging your brain and improving nerve connections," she says.

If Facebook really is better for our brains than Twitter, it’s a good thing Facebook seems to be doing everything it can to become more like Twitter, despite its much, much larger piece of the market share.