Millions of us spend endless hours scrolling through our news feeds on Facebook, only to do the same thing again five minutes later.

So why do we waste so many hours on the popular social media platform? Scientists believe they have the answer.

According to new research, going on your Facebook timeline makes you feel good, even if it doesn't seem that way.

Even brief exposure to a Facebook-related image (a logo or screenshot) can cause a pleasurable response in frequent social media users, which might trigger social media cravings.


Michigan State University's Allison Eden said: "People are learning this reward feeling when they get to Facebook.

"People tend to pair their good feelings with seeing a Facebook logo or being on the site and over time those learned associations can become stronger - so much so that even thinking about Facebook or seeing very, very brief flashes of the logo are enough to get people to have that positive feeling again."

Eden also indicated the use of social media triggers a "cycle of self-regulatory failure" that keeps social media users online.

"Media, including social media, is one of the most commonly failed goals to regulate.

"People try to regulate themselves and they really have difficulty with it."

Instead, she says people who want to regulate their Facebook use should go cold turkey and completely remove Facebook from the phones and desktop computers.

Her finding follows a previous study that found that Mark Zuckerberg's social network can have a similar effect on the brain to cocaine addiction.

Brain scans of undergraduates revealed images relating to Facebook activated the amygdala and striatum - the brain regions involved in compulsive behaviour.