New research suggests that fast social portals can be damaging to us – especially young people who’s brains are still developing.
‘If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,’ said researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, from the University of Southern California. Brain imaging tests showed that humans can respond in fractions of a second to signs of physical pain in others; but admiration and compassion – two of the social emotions which define humanity – take much longer. Digital media may direct users away from traditional avenues for learning about humanity, such as literature or face-to-face interactions, Ms Immordino-Yang added. ‘When it comes to emotion, because these systems are inherently slow, perhaps all we can say is, not so fast,’ said Antonio Damasio, who led the research. Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, who led the research said: “What I’m more worried about is what is happening in the abrupt juxtapositions that you find, for example, in the news. He said the research was vital because admiration, “gives us a yardstick for what to reward in a culture, and for what to look for and try to inspire”. Mr Damasio said that Barack Obama, who was inspired by his father, showed how admiration could drive a person onto great things, adding: “We actually separate the good from the bad in great part thanks to the feeling of admiration. It’s a deep physiological reaction that’s very important to define our humanity.”