The same brain circuits that are activated by eating chocolate and winning money are activated when teenagers see large numbers of “likes” on their own photos or the photos of peers in a social network, according to a first-of-its-kind UCLA study that scanned teens’ brains while using social media…

A region that was especially active is a part of the striatum called the nucleus accumbens, which is part of the brain’s reward circuitry, she said. This reward circuitry is thought to be particularly sensitive during adolescence….

In deciding whether to click that they liked a photo, the teenagers were highly influenced by the number of likes the photo had…

But Sherman points out a possible advantage of social networks. “If your teen’s friends are displaying positive behavior, then it’s fabulous that your teen will see that behavior and be influenced by it,” she said. “It’s important for parents to be aware of who their teens interact with online and what these friends and acquaintances are posting and liking…

These brain regions are involved in decision-making and can inhibit us from engaging in certain activities, or give us the green light to go ahead, Dapretto said…

Source: Teenage brain on social media: Study sheds light on influence of peers and much more — ScienceDaily