Cutting-edge recommendation algorithms have been widely used by media platforms to suggest users with personalized content. While such user-specific recommendations may satisfy users’ needs to obtain intended information, some users may develop a problematic use pattern manifested by addiction-like undesired behaviors. Using a popular video sharing and recommending platform (TikTok) as an example, the present study first characterized use-related undesired behaviors with a questionnaire, then investigated how personally recommended videos modulated brain activity with an fMRI experiment. We found more undesired symptoms were related to lower self-control ability among young adults, and about 5.9% of TikTok users may have significant problematic use. The fMRI results showed higher brain activations in sub-components of the default mode network (DMN), ventral tegmental area, and discrete regions including lateral prefrontal, anterior thalamus, and cerebellum when viewing personalized videos in contrast to non-personalized ones. Psychophysiological interaction analyses revealed stronger coupling between activated DMN subregions and neural pathways underlying auditory and visual processing, as well as the frontoparietal network. This study highlights the functional heterogeneity of DMN in viewing personalized videos and may shed light on the neural underpinnings of how recommendation algorithms are able to keep the user’s attention to suggested contents.Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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