Do you enjoy talking about yourself? According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it’s because the reward areas in your brain respond positively when you disclose information about yourself.
Researchers from Harvard University conducted a series of experiments to find out just how much people liked talking about themselves. They scanned the participants’ brains while they were discussing themselves or other people. In another experiment, they gave everyone a set of questions to answer. Some of them were personal questions, while others were about neutral matters. Each question had an assigned monetary value.
According to the results, people who talked about themselves showed activity in the reward areas of the brain normally associated with sex and food. Talking about other topics, however, didn’t stimulate that part of the brain as much. Researchers also found out that people would rather answer questions, which required them to disclose personal information. In fact, they were willing to let 17 percent of their possible earnings go in favor of the personal questions, which had lower monetary value. And if participants were given the option to share their answers with others or to keep them private, they would apparently forego up to 25 percent of their earnings just to talk about themselves with other people.
“[The] effects were magnifed by knowledge that one’s thoughts would be communicated to another person, suggesting that individuals find opportunities to disclose their own thoughts to others to be especially rewarding," the researchers write.
(Photo by saigneurdeguerre via Flickr Creative Commons)