A group of neuroscientists at Harvard University AKA “nerds that study your brain” have determined why you post so much about yourself AKA “cool story, bro” on social media networks (it’s been shown that around 80% of all social media posts are announcements of an individual’s own immediate experience). In their study, the neuroscientists proved that talking about oneself tickles one’s own pleasure principle in much the same way that getting laid and getting paid do. And for you lovely muumuu wearers out there, let’s give an example that you can relate to – talking about yourself feels as good as stuffing your giant moon face with chocolate pie. Ahh, thank god for fat people – the last safe bastion for great insult comedy.
The brain scientist research people conducted five experiments on about 300 people to see what would happen in their brains when they were sharing their solicited thoughts and opinions. The participants were hooked up to fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machines that provided neuroimaging of blood flow in their brains; the more active the blood flow in a particular area in the brain, the more it will light up.
And boy, did it light up. When participants self-disclosed in any way, the brain regions associated with reward, the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegemental, showed increased blood flow. And no, those aren’t lost Dragonball Z characters; they’re a part of your mesolimbic dopamine system, which is believed to be associated with feelings of reward and desire. Anyway, those Dragonball Z areas of the brain showed much less activity when participants talked about other people’s feelings or opinions. This explains why it’s been shown that 30-40% of everything you’ve said in your life is just you telling others about yourself. Well, that and the fact that you’re a poor judge of when people are bored out of their minds.
And that’s not all! The second part of the study attempted to redeem people’s innate narcissism by bribing them with straight up cash money to talk about other people’s thoughts and opinions instead of their own. Didn’t work out too well. Up to 25% of potential earnings (in cents) were turned away in favor of self disclosure over talking about someone else for a change, which means that the intrinsic value of sharing one’s own thoughts is harder currency than US legal tender.
So wonder no more about why you and your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ friends are constantly talking about yourselves so much – it’s simply because it feels so good. Well, at least you find yourself so fascinating, because no one else does.
Here’s your chance to orgasm – what do you think about the study? Tell me all about your thoughts and opinions below.