“It turns out that if you spend time with a community of your friends and so on…you have chemical changes that reflect that,” he says in an interview at Lavin's Toronto office. “One of the apparent consequences of that is that people become more trusting.” Although this is something that happens offline as well, social media stimulates our evolutionary desire to create social bonds. Citing the rush you get when you receive a new follower on Twitter as an example, he explains that interacting with others online can boost your morale and make you happier due to an increased level of oxytocin in your brain. If you spend ten minutes surfing Facebook before making a decision involving a moral judgment or a purchase, for example, your decision would likely be different than if you had been reading a Wikipedia entry.
The bestselling author of Incognito and Wednesday is Indigo Blue, Eagleman is a recurring contributor to NPR Wired and The New York Times. Eagleman is a trusted neuroscience authority, and regularly shares his insights on everything from the intersection of neuroscience and the legal system, to the nature of perception in near-death experiences. Most recently, he has been focusing on the way social media not only impacts our lives, but our minds, and he provides groundbreaking research in his talks to explain why this technology plays such a vital role in our modern society.