Social Media is Brain Candy
Jim LiebeltJim Liebelt's Blog
- 2012 May 14
Researchers at Harvard have gotten to the bottom of why so many of us are compelled to share our every thought, movement, like and want through mediums like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest.
In a series of experiments, the researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money or having sex. It's all a matter of degrees of course, (talking about yourself isn't quite as pleasurable as sex for most of us), but the science makes it clear that our brain considers self-disclosure to be a rewarding experience.
This may help explain recent surveys of Internet use that show that roughly 80% of posts to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook consist simply of announcements about one's own immediate experience.
The researchers found that the brain regions associated with reward -- the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) -- were strongly engaged when people were talking about themselves, and less engaged when they were talking about someone else.
Source: Los Angeles Times