As social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook further integrate themselves into our everyday lives, it’s inevitable that the way that we use these tools will have some impact on the way that our brains function – both individually and as a collective.

Twitter’s focus on short, fast messages of 140 characters or less has certainly led to an adjustment in how we send and receive information. And our patience with video is shrinking, too – while we love to share links from YouTube, few things will make you click the back button faster than a play count of ten minutes or more.

Bottom line? Ten years ago, the average attention span was 12 minutes – now it’s just 5 seconds.

Of course, the blame for this cannot be laid completely at the feet of social media. But while studies into the impact of these channels are hardly exhaustive, scientists have begun to research the ways that our minds are absorbing these changes, notably in how social media sites have impacted our multitasking skills, social interactions and ability to focus.

This infographic from Assisted Living Today takes a closer look at the effects of social media on the brain.

(Source: Assisted Living Today. Top image credit: Lightspring via Shutterstock.)