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Bragging about Yourself on Social Networking Sites Can Be as Rewarding as Sex and Eating

Update Date: May 11, 2012 04:44 PM EDT
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Social networking sites are more or less modern journals. People record the tiniest of their activities there. It is the oldest fact in the history of mankind that people love bragging about themselves. And facebook and twitter are perfect ways to do so. Recent studies conducted by neuroscientists from Harvard suggest that talking about yourself on social networking sites gives you as much pleasure as "primary rewards" like food and sex.

Harvard researchers Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell begin their research by stating that 30 - 40 percent of the daily conversation we have with others involves talking about ourselves and our activities. This simply reinforces the legendary belief "Humans are born storytellers."

Says the researchers, "These findings suggest that the human tendency to convey information about personal experience may arise from the intrinsic value associated with self-disclosure."

The research included the study of 300 people's brains as they talked about themselves, their beliefs and their peer's beliefs.

These people's brains were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Another test included offering these people money to stop talking about themselves.  It was seen that about 15 - 20 percent of these people were willing to give up this money to continue talking about themselves. Researchers feel this could be the reason why nine out of ten postings on social networking sites state the user's personal experience.

"I think the study helps to explain why people utilize social media websites so often," Tamir told the Los Angeles Times. "I think it helps explain why Twitter exists and why Facebook is so popular, because people enjoy sharing information about each other."

The study also states, "In an ultimate sense, the tendency to broadcast one's thoughts and beliefs may confer an adaptive advantage in individuals in a number of ways: by engendering social bonds and social alliances between people; by eliciting feedback from others to attain self- knowledge; by taking advantage of performance advantages that result from sharing one's sensory experience; or by obviating [removing] the need to discover firsthand what others already know, thus expanding the amount of know-how any single person can acquire in a lifetime. As such, the proximate motivation to disclose our internal thoughts and knowledge to others around us may serve to sustain the behaviors that underlie the extreme sociality of our species."

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