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Study: Looking at your own Facebook photos improves mood

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM   |   Comments

March 18 (UPI) -- Results of research from the University of Portsmouth show that looking at your own Facebook pictures can have a "self-soothing" effect, suggesting possibilities for depression and anxiety treatment, reports The Telegraph.

The study was small, surveying only 144 Facebook users, but the findings contradict previous research that shows that using Facebook can be bad for your mental health. Study director Dr. Alice Good fount that 80 percent of users surveyed logged in to Facebook to look at their own wall posts, and 75 percent look at their own photos when they are feeling down.

Looking back at older photos and wall posts was the main activity and the one that made them happiest. Dr Good said the "results indicate we could use self-soothing as a form of treatment for low moods." She intends to survey a larger group to see if the findings hold up.

Psychologist Dr. Clare Wilson, also of the University of Portsmouth, added that "Facebook is marketed as a means of communicating with others. Yet this research shows we are more likely to use it to connect with our past selves, perhaps when our present selves need reassuring."

Scientists already know that reminiscent therapy helps older people with memory problems, and that the use of old photos can provide a way for people with short-term memory loss to feel comforted by familiar objects. The new research shows that it could also be an effective treatment for people with depression or anxiety.

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