NOW THAT’S FUNNY
So, it turns out that people like to talk about themselves. “Self-disclosure” creates an increase in brain activity in the areas associated with pleasure. Talking about ourselves gives our brains the same good feelings as do food, money and sex. No wonder we can’t stop sharing!
And I thought it was just me.
The study conducted at Harvard University used fMRIs to monitor 300 subject’s brains as they shared personal information about themselves. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 40 percent of our everyday speech involves telling others our own opinions or feelings. But now, with rampant social media, there are more ways than ever to yammer on and on about yourself. You can tweet, you can email, you can Facebook, you can blog. Really, you never have to shut up. And this makes us all feel great!
I guess Facebook IS better than sex. No wonder their IPO keeps going up.
The study found that when people were giving their opinions, activity in brain regions belonging to the meso-limbic dopamine system (associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction) was very high. In fact, when the participants had the chance to answer questions of fact and earn money, or answer questions revealing personal information but earning NO money, up to 25 percent of them chose to blab on without the earnings.
I find this very interesting, because, well, I love human nature. And I love reading about human nature. In fact, I love reading anything, especially history and historical novels. I love watching history related shows on TV, too, like "Downton Abbey." My husband and I watched that show faithfully and sometimes we even drink a glass of port while we watch it because it really feels like we’re “there” even though my living room desperately needs redecorating, and I can’t wait to repaint and get a new rug and move all the furniture around.
Well, that was good for me.
For those of us that complain about how social media has taken over life as we know it, this study is not good news. It confirms that: a) we are hardwired be selfish, b) technology is enabling our bad habits of boorish burbling, c) we all going to be subjected to TMI for the rest of our lives.
In a related story, “smartphone face” is on the rise. Yes, according to The Week, our escalated use of laptops and smartphones is causing our faces to sag. The action of constantly leaning forward over the screens with your head bent slightly forward, could shorten the neck muscles and increase the gravitational pull on the jowl area, leading to a drooping jawline. Chin implants and other jaw related cosmetic surgeries are growing.
That’s awful! What if you have smartphone face? You’d better log on and talk about it right now. You’ll feel better.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Her book, “You Definitely Know You’re a Mom When …” is now available on Kindle. Follow her on Twitter @plobley.