Why can't people stop 'Doomscrolling', which keeps watching hard news?

The pandemic of the new coronavirus infection that started in 2020 has shown no signs of convergence, and since February 2022, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has killed many people and forced them to evacuate. Experts have commented on '

Doomscrolling ,' which keeps reading news about these tragic events.

Ukraine doomscrolling can harm your cognition as well as your mood – here's what to do about it

According to Barbara Sahakian, a professor of clinical neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge, who contributed an article to the non-profit academic media The Conversation, she was rejuvenated by interesting movies and, on the contrary, depressed by sad dramas. It is said that two psychological phenomena, 'mood induction' and 'empathy', are involved in the end.

Of these, serotonin , a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood regulation, is deeply involved in 'mood induction.' For example, it is known that serotonin decreases even in healthy people when 'mood induction' is performed by playing sad music, and conversely, drug therapy using drugs that increase serotonin is used for depression and It has also been found to be effective in treating anxiety disorders.

In addition, 'empathy' is a characteristic that is a plus for coexisting well with other people and leading a rich social life, but if you overly empathize with the tragic events that are occurring in the world, this is the trigger for serotonin levels. May drop.

When mood is depressed by such a mechanism, cognitive functions such as attention and memory are impaired, and the cognitive ability that should have been directed to other things is exhausted. Then, the feeling of lethargy, such as 'only bad things happen' and 'the miserable situation never ends', leads to a lethargic state, and a vicious cycle of collecting more and more negative information occurs. This is the true nature of 'Doomscrolling,' which scrolls endlessly on smartphone browsers and news apps to see bad information.

In fact, it's not just the disastrous news that causes the cognitive exhaustion that causes Doomscrolling. In an

experiment in which an instant message was received by a student's mobile phone while reading, it was confirmed that the group disturbed by the instant message had a significantly longer time to complete reading and a higher stress level.

From this, Sahakian and colleagues said, 'Cognitive decline is caused not only by the consumption of negative content, but also by the technology used to access that information. Ultimately, in the workplace and There is a risk of affecting performance in social places such as schools. '

Poor attention due to sad news or the effects of the smartphone you are using to watch it can itself cause anxiety and prevent

well-being . In the worst case, it can lead to 'repetitive behavior' as seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder , which can lead to endless searches with the same search word or reading the same article.

So Sahakian and colleagues recommend reading books and watching movies to distract them, exercising and meeting friends to change their mood. In addition, taking concrete actions such as participating in a charity to support Ukrainians will also improve the situation. For example, one study found that kind behavior activates the brain's reward system and encourages people to turn things around.

If these behaviors do not cure Doomscrolling, you may want to consult a clinical psychologist for cognitive-behavioral therapy. Doomscrolling is one of the causes of negative mood induction, so positive mood induction under expert guidance can improve mood, Sahakian and colleagues say.

On top of that, Sahakian et al. Said, 'In today's globalized society, the development of technology is flooded with information and stimuli, including good and bad news. It's important not to be distracted. Conflicts and climate change are certainly important, but if you're depressed and cognitively weakened, you can help solve those global problems. I can't do that. '

in Science, Posted by log1l_ks