The Neuroscience of Smartphone/Social Media Usage and the Growing Need to Include Methods from ‘Psychoinformatics’ (2019)

Information Systems and Neuroscience pp 275-283

Christian Montag

Part of the Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation book series (LNISO, volume 29)


The present work gives a brief overview of the current state of affairs in the investigation of the neuroscientific underpinnings of social media use. Such an overview is of importance because individuals spend significant amounts of time on these ‘social’ online channels. Despite several positive aspects of social media use, such as the ability to easily communicate with others across long distances, it is clear that detrimental effects on our brains and minds are possible. Given that much of the neuroscientific and psychological research conducted up to now relies solely on self-report measures to assess social media usage, it is argued that neuroscientists/psychologists need to include more digital traces resulting from human-machine/computer interaction, and/or information shared by individuals on social media, in their scientific analyses. In this realm, digital phenotyping can be achieved via methods of ‘Psychoinformatics’, a merger of the disciplines psychology and computer science/informatics.

Keywords Smartphone Social media Psychoinformatics Digital phenotyping Nucleus accumbens Anterior cingulate cortex