Looking at our own Facebook profiles: we all do it; some more than others. But researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a study showing that just fives minutes of looking at our profile has a surprising effect on our brains. Researchers had 159 undergrads complete an exercise designed to measure their self-esteem, which looked into how quickly the undergrads associated themselves with positive or negative descriptions. Then, they had the undergrads take a test where they were to count down, as quickly as possible in two minutes, from 1,978 by sevens (i.e., 1,978, 1,971, 1,964, etc.) 

The results showed that when the undergrads who looked at their own Facebook profile, rather than ones who looked at a stranger's, associated themselves with more positive descriptions that showed an increase in their self-esteem. However, when they took the counting test directly after, the people who looked at their own profile completed it at 15-percent slower pace.

The researchers say that because their feelings of self-worth went up, the subjects felt less motivated to prove themselves in other fashions: hence, not going full throttle during a measly math test.

Why does our own Facebook profile increase our self-esteem? Because we craft it however way we want the world, and ourselves, to see us—and we're likely to put what we believe is our best face forward, whether it's true in reality, or not.

[via The Atlantic]