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Researchers link Facebook activity to living longer

Photo of William R. Hobbs, a postdoctoral research fellow at Northeastern's Lazer Lab

New research co-​​led by Northeastern’s William R. Hobbs sug­gests that use of Facebook is asso­ci­ated with longer life, par­tic­u­larly if the time spent online is mod­erate and the user’s online activ­i­ties reflect strong social inter­ac­tions in the offline world.

Face­book as a foun­tain of youth? Well, not exactly. But new research co-led by Northeastern’s William R. Hobbs sug­gests that use of the social media plat­form is asso­ci­ated with longer life, par­tic­u­larly if the time spent online is mod­erate and the user’s online activ­i­ties reflect strong social inter­ac­tions in the offline world.

The find­ings sup­port decades of research showing that social rela­tion­ships in real life con­tribute to longevity and that social iso­la­tion does the oppo­site. They are the first, how­ever, to reveal that the asso­ci­a­tion holds in the online world.

Hobbs, a post­doc­toral research fellow in the lab of Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Polit­ical Sci­ence and Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence David Lazer, is quick to point out that the study shows asso­ci­a­tions only and not cause and effect. Still, he sug­gests a pos­sible expla­na­tion for the results.

Read the story at news@Northeastern.

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