Abstract: The worrisome rise in anxiety and depression among adolescents has been linked to social media. This connection, however, is not well understood. Social media is, at its core, about comparing and being compared with others. Modern adolescent anxiety is driven by the “biology of comparison” which evolved in ancient fish to help individuals navigate their social relationships. Understanding the 500 million year history of being sized up, assessed, and comparing to others offers a powerful new approach to better understanding and helping the anxious adolescents in our lives.
Bio: Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, is a Visiting Professor at Harvard in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and Professor of Medicine at UCLA. Her research focuses on the natural world as a source of insights into human pathology and developmental challenges.
Her newly published book, Wildhood, uses the lenses of evolutionary biology, neuroscience and animal behavior to better understand the species-spanning challenges of growing up.