Twitter Could Make You Immoral

The site increases "indifference to human suffering"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Constant use of sites like Twitter can decrease our ability to form a moral compass, scientists claim.

    You could be Twittering your morals away.

    The information overload brought about by sites like Twitter and Facebook decreases our ability to fully process emotion, causing "indifference to human suffering," scientists say.

    The rapid speed at which Twitter and Facebook are updated can stunt the brain's ability to create a "moral compass" -- stunting emotional growth and the development of feelings like empathy, according to the University of California study.

    "If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states and that would have implications for your morality," researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang told CNN.

    "For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people's social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and refection," said Immordio-Yang.

    The study, which will be published in next week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition, surveyed volunteers' responses to images and real-life stories of physical and emotional pain.

    Participants responded well to physical pain, but took longer to respond with sympathy or compassion to social or emotional trauma.

    The findings showed that slowing down the rate at which information is delivered to us via TV and the Internet is necessary to help humans develop a sense of morality, said research leader Antonio Damasio, director of USC's Brain and Creativity Institute.