Scrolling through the average Facebook feed is often a baffling experience. Why, for instance, did that aunt’s friend decide now was a good time repost an article about Pizzagate? And why, for a hot second a couple years ago, did it seem as if every single friend from college was posting the inexplicably popular BuzzFeed quiz, “What Country Do You Actually Belong In?”
While a pair of new studies doesn’t provide answers to these exact questions, they do examine and analyze what goes on in our brains when we decide to share content. In the first study, neuroimaging (via fMRI) was used to study the brain activity of 80 participants as they read the headlines and short descriptions of dozens of health articles in the New York Times. While the topics and length of the selected stories were similar, the number of times they were shared on Facebook, Twitter, and by email ranged from 34 to 12,743.
When asked to select the articles they’d share, activity in the brain regions associated with assessing value, self-related thinking, and, crucially, considering other people’s perspective showed a flurry of activity. The results were published in Psychological Science.
Read the whole story: Fortune