Facebook is GOOD for you: Social networks relax the heart rate and trigger 'a natural high'
Websites like Facebook may actually be good for you, according to the latest psychological study on users.
Researchers found using social networks can spark a natural high leading to a relaxed heart rate and lower levels of stress and tension.
'Natural high': Scientists measured the reactions of students using Facebook which suggested they were 'aroused'
While it seems like a solitary activity, the interaction with others via these networks has a positive effect on body and mind, said joint American and Italian research.
And that buzz could explain the massive success of social networking in general and Facebook in particular.
University researchers in Milan wired up 30 students aged 19-25, monitoring the reactions of their brain, blood pressure, skin conductance, pupil dilation and heart rate.
These readings show levels of arousal, excitement, stress and relaxation said the study for online journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking.
The students were then given three minute exercises – either looking at panoramic landscapes, a short time on Facebook or a complicated mathematical task.
Not surprisingly the first made the students the most relaxed and the maths test made them the most stressed.
But the Facebook time threw up a whole new set of unexpected results that were neither stressed out or over relaxed.
Instead they found it brought out reactions suggesting the person had found high levels of attractiveness and arousal.
The research was conducted jointly by the Auxologico Italian Institute, the Catholic University, both in Milan, and the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It found: 'The success of social networking sites might be associated with a specific positive affective state experienced by users when they use their account.'
However, Lady Susan Greenfield from the University of Oxford recently warmed over-using social networks could shorten the attention span, encourage instant gratification and cause a loss of empathy.
And last year a U.S report suggested using websites like Facebook could be fuelling the rise of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults.
The study from Florida's Seminole County Health Department reported large rises in cases of chlamydia and syphilis.
Intervention specialist Preston Boyce told ClickOrlando.com: 'They're using the social networks. They're not talking to their parents, and they're hooking up with people that they really don't know anything about.
'They're contracting diseases, and then they go their separate ways.
'There wasn't a bond that was developed in the first place, so they're just meeting people, and that bond wasn't there so it's easy to walk away after the first time.'