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Don't Lie on Facebook, Other Social Networks. It Causes 'Digital Amnesia'

2 January 2015, 9:30 am EST By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
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A study reveals that two-thirds of users of social media networks tell lies to "airbrush reality" to make their personal lives look more interesting to others. Psychologists warned that this could cause "digital amnesia."  ( Maria Elena )

A study reveals that two-thirds of users of social media networks tell lies to "airbrush reality" to make their personal lives look more interesting to others.

The findings of the survey have caused psychologists to warn users on the issue of "digital amnesia," wherein people forget the truth and believe in the versions of reality that they make up online. Posting lies on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter could cause users to "rewrite" their own memories.

Richard Sherry, Society for Neuropsychoanalysis founding member and clinical psychologist, said that the forming habit of users to show off on social media is leading to the erosion of personal identities. This claim is supported by results of the conducted survey that saw almost half of the respondents claim to feel shame, sadness and paranoia due to not being able to live up in their real lives to their image in social media.

According to Sherry, memories that people "retrieve" from their minds are modified and less accurate, leading to changing the memories over time to conform to the standards of society.

However, social conformity can lead to people negating the feeling of being themselves, resulting in people no longer recognizing their own experiences and memories.

"'When this starts to happen, feelings of guilt and distaste towards ourselves can create psychological problems, including anxiety. This can exacerbate certain personality traits which can become unhelpful, if not outright destructive," Sherry added.

The survey, which was commissioned by social network Pencourage, discovered that 68 percent exaggerate, embellish or outright lie when making posts about their personal events on social media, with one in every 10 respondents admitting that their recollections of the said event have already become distorted.

The youngest social media users seem to be the ones most at risk, as 16 percent of respondents with ages 18 years old to 24 years old said that their memories have completely been compromised.

In a previous survey by Pencourage, the most common topics that users lie about in social media are about their current activities, such as posting that they are having a great time when they are really sulking alone at home, their personal relationships, holidays, and the success levels of their career.

The reasons for lying on social media include the fear of looking like a boring person, along with jealousy on the exciting posts made by others.

The lone study ever conducted on the impact on memory of users on social media was published early 2014 in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. The research concluded that the usage of social networks can lead to damages in the autobiographical memory of users.

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